LORAIN — The city’s outgoing mayor received an outpouring of well-wishes at Monday’s Council meeting.
Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer announced his resignation May 9, effective at the end of this month. He accepted a position with Republic Services and will be moving his family to the Chicago area. Monday was his last regular Council meeting as mayor, and a resolution commending him for his almost eight years of service brought out emotional goodbyes from members of council.
“You and I did not start out on the same side,” Mary Springowski, D-at large said after reading Council’s resolution commending the mayor for his time with the city. “But we have come to an understanding — it was either that or we were going to beat each other to death with baseball bats. And it has been my tremendous honor and privilege to work with you and to learn from you.”
The resolution noted Ritenauer’s enthusiasm for the city and education, and work to better the city — from demolishing the Stoveworks to starting the Broadway Streetscape project, his dedication to the city “will be greatly missed by all who have had the honor to serve with him.”
Some members of Council remember Ritenauer before he served as the city’s 50th mayor, with Joe Koziura, D-at large telling of how a much younger Riteanuer would play baseball in Williamsburg Park, abutting Koziura’s property. Ritenauer called Koziura’s house a ‘real life sandlot,’ as if the kids hit the ball over Koziura’s fence, they had to hope he would throw it back so they could keep playing the next day.
“But I also watched this young man grow, even though he wanted to be in the garbage business — I didn’t realize how far he’d really get — but he did so well to graduate from high school with his associate degree, then go on to get his bachelor’s, get his master’s, become a CPA … It’s remarkable what you’ve accomplished, Chase.”
Beth Henley, D-Ward 1, said when she first saw Ritenauer in Council chambers 20 years ago when he was part of the city’s Young Democrats, she used to wonder why he came to the meetings as a teenager.
“Anyway, you have grown into a fine young man,” she said. “You have served this city well … I think Lorain is a far better place for you having put up with us.”
Recalling fond memories of his time with the city, starting as part of Mayor Tony Krasienko’s staff, Ritenauer said it was surreal to sit in Council chambers Monday.
“Twenty percent of my life has been served as the mayor of this city,” he said. “And if you go back when I started at the age of 23 here, most of my 20s and now half of my 30s has been spent … in public service. I’ve heard any number of things, all I can tell you is life doesn’t know terms, it doesn’t know elections, it doesn’t know when filing deadlines are.”
Commending Council for pushing through the city’s tough times to turn Lorain into a city “ready to pop,” he said while the move is what is best for his family, that didn’t make it or the people easier to leave.
“I love what I do, I love being the mayor, but this time there’s just things that are more important to me,” he said.
The mayoral position will be filled for the rest of Ritenauer’s unexpired term by appointment, according to Ohio Revised Code.
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