Oakwood Plaza – THIS is a Shopping Center??

At the request of Councilwoman-at-Large Anne Molnar, I went by Oakwood Plaza to take some pictures for a presentation she wants to give. After pulling into the parking lot, I can see why she’s been so upset about this plaza: There’s really nothing there!!

This is what I saw when I first pulled into the lot (click on photos for larger view):

I don’t get to this area of Lorain too often, but I believe that there used to be a grocery store in the middle of this complex.

Obviously, not anymore.

I did notice that the parking lot (the southern part of it) looked new.

As opposed to the northern end of the lot,

 which looks like a warzone.

The only store still doing business in the plaza is Family Dollar.

And that’s not saying much.

This used to be a thriving integral part of South Lorain. That was back when I was a young’un. And I just turned 42, so you know it’s been a while.

From the looks of this, the store behind the red dumpster was good enough to save, but those between it and Family Dollar were beyond repair.

 Anne Molnar will be giving a presentation about the Plaza at a meeting being held at the South Lorain Community Development Office, in the Koury Building on Pearl Avenue. It will be open to the public, and as soon as I hear from Anne in regards to the date and time, I will pass it on here.

South Lorain, as a whole, needs quite a bit of help. Pearl Avenue is in horrendous condition, and there’s not much retail to speak of for the folks in this area. There are a lot of Mom-n-Pop stores, but I don’t believe they fulfill all the needs of the local residents.

Though the sign says ‘No Dumping’, I think it’s way too late. South Lorain has had to deal with this dump for far too long.

So, Community Development and the Powers-That-Be in City Hall, what’s in the works for South Lorain? Is there anything they can look forward to?



15 thoughts on “Oakwood Plaza – THIS is a Shopping Center??

  1. South Lorain has been forgotten by our city leaders. It held some promise up until the late eighties when the Builders Square Plaza stole most of the chances of any retail returning to Oakwood. When the Builders Square Plaza went to poo,South Lorain was left with their hands out with nothing to fill them.

    While it appears that there has been considerable investment at the same time as thinning out of tenant spaces, South Lorain has TWO STRUGGLING SHOPPING CENTERS AND IF THE REST OF THE SECOND ONE FAILS ON FAIRLESS, THEN WHAT?

    Does our city actually have a Community Development Department or a fat overstaffed department that wastes dollars just to justify their salaries?

    When was the last time anyone really looked at how Community Development was organized? Would our city be BETTER SERVED with just an Economic Development Department that dealt with job creation and a scaled down housing department that worked out of the building department or at least the same floor?

  2. I more than agree that “South Lorain” has got problems that need addressing. Thankfully there are still some “mom and pop” stores to meet some of the needs of the people who may live close to those stores. Lots of bad raps have happened in the southern section of our fair city. BUT . . . let us not over look the east side of our fair city. The eastsiders have only 2 “convenience” stores (one near the bridge and one at the eastern city limits). Our banks are gone, our ice cream stand is closed, we have only 5 places to get gasoline ( two by the bridge, one near the eastern city limit, one approximately 4 blocks from the city limits and one just over the track about in the middle of the eastside). We have no Family Dollar, Dollar General and only one pharmacy. We have no regular grocery store and we all know what happened when the bridge was left in the upright position for an extended period for repair. Heaven forbid there should be a medical emergency and the bridge is upright and the train tracks are blocked. We have lost 2 of our schools and have no high school close to our students. The industry we had is closed (at least there is some work going on at the steel plant). When business wants to come in, they are closed out. We have a wonderful plot of land ready for occupation (streets, lights) but for some reason no one has come to stay.

    All parts of our city seem to be in need of a plan for re-vitalization. It seems that the only part that is getting any of the re-vitalization is the west side (almost to Amherst. So the question should be: Does our city actually have a community development department and what is it that they do besides help one part of town with construction and tax breaks? Also, they (our elected leaders and supposed community development department) allow us as a city to be disrespected when a facility wants to build within our city limits, wants our city to provide utilities and safety services but our schools aren’t good enough for our elite athletes!

    It is time for a plan, it is time for open and honest representation for our entire city, not just parts of it. We are all Lorainites and deserve a lot better than we are receiving.

  3. Mark,
    You mentioned that Family Dollar was the only tenants, but I believe that a bingo hall or something along those lines also operates out of the plaza.

  4. Forth picture down, in between the plywood is a operable door. I believe the bingo hall was in a portion of the building that was removed and I am not certain if they are going to stay permanently.

  5. Is there anyone out there that has pictures of Oakwood Plaza when it was first opened in the late 50’s, early 60’s? and if so please email them to me. I grew up acroos the street from the palza, and mpoved 14 years ago. My friends from the neighborhood and myself would love to see some photos of the plaza. My email is anniep0719@hotmail.com

  6. Is there anyone out there that has pictures of Oakwood Plaza when it was first opened in the late 50’s, early 60’s? and if so please email them to me. I grew up across the street from the plaza, and moved 14 years ago. My friends from the neighborhood and myself would love to see some photos of the plaza. We would really like to know what the original stores were. We have a debate going on about that, and it would be great to find out. My email is anniep0719@hotmail.com

  7. Annie, I stopped by the Black River Historical Society Wednesday, and there were a few pics of Oakwood Plaza, however 2 were aerial views, and one was shot from the south end where Meyer Goldberg’s grocery store was. We found the name of the theater, was it Oakwood Twin? I’ll go back in the near future, but we still need to find out what other stores were in there before we can search for them.

  8. I was at Dan’s a while ago, after he linked that post. And yes there was a Fazio’s there. And when I go back, I will see what pics they have of things that are still around, so we can do that Challenge. I’ll have to go through some of my parents’ slides, too.

  9. I grew up on 34th street a half block off Pearl Avenue in the 70’s and spent much time at Oakwood Plaza. I have no pictures but have been blessed with good memory so here are the stores I remember starting from the Homewood Drive end. First there was the free standing carwash with 2 bays and painted light blue. There was also the free standing Fotomat. the plaza itself had Lorain National Bank, Fisher-Fazio, a small store that sold incense, black velvet paintings, beads etc. Next there was the beauty parlor, Zips Ice Cream Parlor, the electronics store where you could plug in vacuum tubes to see if they were burned out. After that was Lorain Twin Cinema (50 cent matinees, 50 cent boxes of fresh popcorn and where a 13 year old could see R rated movies!) After that was the restaurant that was closed as long as I could remember, Fashion Barn, PJ’s Pub, Oakwood Laundromat, Selenti’s Pizza, R&R Sales, Grey Drug Store (with the gazebo in front with the moving munchkins), the store that sold fabric, Meyer-Goldberg Grocery then Minotti’s (before they moved it over). Lets not forget the bank and gas station across the parking lot and The Cavalier Club across the street. I hope this helped with anyones trip down memory lane.

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