Bike Shop Building to Honor Ron Nabakowskiposted 5/2/19 -- Lorain County Community Action Agency will dedicate its new bike shop building on West 10th Street to the memory of an agency champion with a special event Saturday, June 22.
The Ronald Nabakowski Youth Center will house the LCCAA Bike Shop as well as space for youth development programming, announced LCCAA President and CEO Jackie Boehnlein.
"Ron's life was truly one of service to others," Boehnlein said. "He wanted to make lives and communities better and he did that while teaching others how to do it too. Ron loved learning and sharing his knowledge. I was fortunate to have him as a mentor."
Nabakowski served on the LCCAA Board of Directors from 2005 to 2016, including two years as its chair. In addition he served 14 years as Clerk of Courts, then became Lorain city auditor in 1972. Nabakowski was appointed to the Ohio Senate in 1977, serving there until becoming a Lorain County Commissioner in 1982. Three years later, he resigned to become director of the Ohio State Lottery.
From 1990 to 2000, he ran a private consulting business while also privately battling Lou Gehrig's Disease (or ALS) which confined him to a wheelchair. He died June 10, 2016, at age 74.
The shop, to be named simply the LCCAA Bike Shop, will be operated by participants in LCCAA's youth services program, men and women ages 16 to 24. As part of the program, they will gain valuable work experience and practical skills repairing bikes. The shop will become operational over the summer months.
"We are beyond excited to start building inventory and getting the bike shop fully running," said Director of Planning and Community Services Frank Prihoda. "The youth have been working at the Elyria Bicycle Education Center to learn how to use tools and help customers. Now that we will have the building, we will be able to bring everything together."
"When we relocated our administrative and utility assistance offices to 936 Broadway, the bike shop building was part of the property deal," Boehnlein added. "It was a derelict little structure crying out to be saved."
"The building makes me think of Ron and all the good things he wanted for the city he grew up in," she continued. "He always believed Broadway would bustle again. He taught me that you fix things one thing at a time and let all those things add up. Our youth are now getting to be part of that something bigger."
Donations are being accepted to the bike shop's tool fund via a GoFundMe campaign. The link can be found at www.lccaa.net/donate. Used bicycles will be accepted as soon as construction is complete. Please wait for our announcement.
In addition, the LCCAA Bike Shop will partner in the Go Lorain bike share initiative with the Lorain County Public Health Department, Lorain Public Library system and the Lorain County Metro Parks. The youth-operated shop will repair and maintain bicycles available for library patrons to check out.
The upper level of the Ronald Nabakowski Youth Center will be used for group mentoring sessions, meetings featuring guest speakers and more. The youth-operated Care Cupboard, which provides food and personal care items to area residents in need, will also move to the building.
The June 22 public event will include a ribbon cutting, building tours, giveaways, light refreshments and more. The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.