There’s nothing to do in Lima. Lima is a small city with no events, no arts, and no recreation. Sure, there’s the annual fair and maybe a concert or two, but not much else.
These are claims I have heard many fellow residents say about Lima. And let me say it up front — these claims are inaccurate.
I’ve lived all over this great country, mostly in larger cities including New York, Seattle Detroit, and New Orleans. It is my experience that Lima is blessed with a treasure trove of cultural assets and natural resources comparable to cities much larger. From sports to arts, dining to parks, Lima has a lot to offer.
Don’t believe me? Let me tell you about my favorite things to do.
With 335 acres of parkland in and around Lima, there is no excuse to sit still. Trails, dog parks and bike trails are ample. The region is full of reasons to get lost in the wild.
The Collett Street Recreation Area and Faurot Park offer basketball courts, trails, ponds, beach volleyball and baseball and softball diamonds. The Lima region also is known for its great golf courses.
I may be a little biased on this one, but Lima is a great city for athletes and watching sports. We have some local teams like the Lima Warriors and the Locos. Not every community can say that.
We also have college and high school sports – all of which are very competitive in our area (I think it’s accurate to say we take Friday Night Lights to another level). The Ohio State University at Lima/Rhodes State College Barons have great small college athletics, while UNOH competes nationally at the NAIA level. Just down the road Bluffton University and Ohio Northern University are great NCAA Division 3 athletic programs with events being held on all of the campuses year round. Much like most colleges, the opportunities for these young student athletes all over the greater Lima region are endless as well as for the fan of live, high level athletics.
Everyone in town should know about Artspace/Lima in the heart of Town Square. If you have never been, go! It exhibits some of the most prolific artists in western Ohio. It also offers engaging classes for kids and adults.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t plug the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center. We host a wide range of shows and events including classical offerings from the Lima Symphony Orchestra and numerous dance recitals thanks to a thriving local dance company scene. We feature Broadway, rock, country, comedy acts, and more. My team and I are courting even more top-rated acts, working with our own foundation as well as with many different promoters we hope will bring their shows to Lima. We already know we will have an exciting line-up coming for the 2017-2018 Season!
We see evidence of the region’s rich history all around us but we rarely engage with it. That’s why the Allen County Museum is a must visit. There’s a sense of exuberance when you walk around their collection of industrial wonders. One exhibit that never gets old is their original 1925 Shay locomotive, which transports you back to the time when Lima was a major rail hub, and the Lima Locomotives Works built engines that were exported across the world.
Residents can take a trip into outer space at the Schoonover Observatory, where the Lima Astronomical Society maintains a publicly accessible Newtonian Cassegrain telescope. The Observatory is open the first Friday evening of every month (and weekly during the summer). What kid doesn’t love the experience of staring deep into space to view star clusters, galaxies, planets and maybe even a few Martians? Heck, I still do.
There is something for every taste and every budget, with fine dining, hidden treasures, numerous sports bars and family friendly locations as well as a growing wine and craft beer scene. There is no lack of choices, and many if not most of our great dining options are locally owned. And, I have to of course mention the iconic Kewpee restaurants, with my favorite being the original downtown Lima location.
This information may not be news to you but I hope there’s one main message you walk away with: You’re only bored in this community if you want to be. Let’s celebrate the assets we have, push ourselves to keep creating new attractions and bringing talent here to perform, and keep patronizing local businesses so we can keep playing in our own backyard.
Abe Ambroza is the CEO of the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center.