LCCAA and partners will construct a new food security center in South Elyria this spring.

The South Side Center will be built on privately-owned vacant lots on West Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets, near the South Elyria Public Library branch. A separate partnership agreement with the library built and operates the community garden on library property.

LCCAA President and CEO Jackie Boehnlein said LCCAA’s 2021 Community Needs Assessment clearly shows a need for the center.

“The pandemic exposed the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity in this country,” she said. “Locally, food pantry usage is 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels. Food prices are definitely higher. Our less affluent families—including those who depend on school meals, SNAP and seniors on fixed incomes—need help.”

The center will house a produce market and program intake offices, including utility assistance.

Jon Veard of United Properties owns the project land and design work is being done by James Yorks Architect and Associates. Pending building permit approval from the City of Elyria, a June ground breaking is planned. Construction will take approximately one year. The estimated cost is $600,000. LCCAA will occupy the center under a 10-year lease.

“It has taken us nearly two years to complete land acquisition and  the center’s design,” Veard said. “It has been a painstaking process making every square foot count. We want this center to make the neighborhood proud. I cannot wait for the building to be done for the residents of Elyria’s south side.”

“The center is being built to be adaptable and responsive to the neighborhood,” Boehnlein said. “Our old Hamilton Head Start Center previously allowed us to serve the residents of Elyria’s south side. This new center feels a little like we are coming home again. We cannot wait to welcome everyone.”