Underground Railroad Center groundbreaking planned for May 6

Staff Report

Ground will be broken Friday, May 6 to mark the beginning of phase two in construction of the Oberlin Underground Railroad Center project.

The ceremony will be held from 5-5:30 p.m. at the historic Gasholder Building, 273 South Main St., Oberlin.

The ceremony will include a commendation from the Ohio House of Representatives presented by Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain). Speakers will include Oberlin Underground Railroad Center Implementation Team chair George Abram and interim Oberlin city manager Sal Talarico.

Phase two will include site development of the grounds surrounding the building, installation of the parking lot and sidewalks, and the construction of a bike and picnic shelter along the North Coast Inland Bike Trail.

Site plans will be on display before and after the ceremony and the renovated Gasholder Building will be open to visitors for the last time before construction begins.

City staff and OURCIT members will be on site to give tours and answer questions about the project.

Organizers say the Oberlin Underground Railroad Center will be a place of reflection on Oberlin’s rich history in the Underground Railroad and abolitionist movement, while also promoting cultural tourism in Oberlin and Lorain County.

Phase I of the project was completed in 2012 and involved the stabilization and rehabilitation of the 1889 Gasholder Building. Since then, the City and OURCIT have been raising funds to complete phase two and planning for phase three (interior renovations of the Gasholder Building and future programming).

The city secured funding through the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, the state of Ohio capital budget, and community donations to be able to commence with phase two.

For more information, contact Diane Ramos in the Oberlin city manager’s office at 440-775-7217 or dramos@cityofoberlin.com, or visit the OURC website at www.oberlinundergroundrailroadcenter.com.

Staff Report