Forget what you think you know about Lorain County’s second most populated city. Elyria, the county seat and home to more than 50,000 people, is in the midst of a renaissance. Think state-of-the-art public school buildings, new modern library facilities, more than 300 housing starts, a thriving arts district, refurbished parks and infrastructure improvements to create a massive public-private infusion of economic development totaling more than $400 million. 
“It may be unprecedented anywhere in the state of Ohio that so much public and private investment per capita is happening all at the same time,” says Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda, who is in her second term and seventh year of leading the city. 
“The resurgence is real, and we think it’s important for Elyria to claim its new position in the region,” she says. “The fact that the citizens of this community have so significantly invested in their public institutions including their school, and their city, and their library at the same time, I think that is helping to convince businesses and industries that this is actually a good investment.” 
Elyrians have a long, proud history of investing in their schools. They built the first high school west of the Allegheny Mountains and were the first city to give a community college a permanent home in the state of Ohio. 
More recently, the district passed the levy for the new $73 million high school in 2007, followed up by the most recent issue to invest an additional $140 million to replace all of the remaining schools with five state-of-the-art schools and a new stadium over the next three years. 
“That’s gonna have a huge impact on our community because families who have children or are contemplating having children are looking at where their best investment is for a home. And looking at a school district that’s completely rebuilding itself with brand new facilities is, I think, very exciting for folks,” Brinda says. 
She points to the $30.6 million of industry expansions happening in the city and the uptick in manufacturing overall. “We have a lot of companies doing very well,” she says. “One of them, Elyria Foundry, has a very important military contract right now, and they have to fill 175 jobs by November.”
The Elyria Public Library is building its main library, renovating its west branch and locating a new branch in south Elyria to the tune of $16 million. There is a new 50-year lease with Cascade Park and the Elywood section of the Lorain County Metro Parks. The other parks are being renovated by the city of Elyria and includes sprucing up throughout, as well as renovations to the recreation centers, recreation amenities, two new spray parks and other projects totaling about $7 million.
“Our mall area is seeing some changes for the positive. We just finished our $23 million  investment that made it possible to upgrade the mall area and widen state Route 57 and remove the 49th street bridge,” Brinda says. “That has spurred about almost $17 million in investment in the mall area.”
In downtown Elyria, there’s been $36.8 million worth of public and private investment, and there’s a $10 million project to return passenger rails to the former New York Central rail station. 
And the developed city is experiencing a bit of housing boom with $59 million worth of new single-family homes with 325 new housing starts expected in 2018, including a 214-unit upscale, age 55-plus Hovnanian Homes, Four Seasons 
“I’m proud of our community. It’s taken a lot of people and organizations and businesses and institutions to get to this place,” Brinda says.