GALION — Galion’s worker population continues to grow, so next up on city government’s to-do list is finding new housing for for that growing segment of the community.
“I think the lack of housing is the biggest challenge we face,” said Galion mayor Tom O’Leary at Tuesday’s 2018 Economic Development and Business Forecast Breakfast at Gracepoint Church. “We need more housing inventory. Businesses are growing. We have doctors and engineers and executives moving to the area. There is definitely a need for housing development.”
“Not only would it benefit new businesses in their recruiting efforts, it would also lessen the burden on others in Galion who are paying for infrastructure,” O’Leary continued.
He went on to say that as Galion’s population dwindled through the years, so did the city’s tax revenue: “But the price of everything else is going up. The more people living in Galion, the more people there will be to help pay for those improvements.”
Gary Frankhouse Jr., executive director of the Crawford Partnership, said Galion and Crawford County continues to grow.
“I have a saying I use a lot,” Frankhouse stated. “‘A rising tide lifts all ships.’ I don’t think I’ve ever see a better time that that is going on in Galion. There is a new energy in the community to work together.”
Jerry Morasko of Avita Health System talked about an epic year for the local hospital and its continued growth.
“We’ve got 1,750 employees, we have a $60 million investment at Ontario and that led to 600 employees, the Bellville facility we’re expecting to open in August and we’re starting an interventional cardiology program, which means we can put in stents here,” Morasko said.
He also talked about the new computer system now in use by Avita and it was announced this week that Avita is teaming up with the Cleveland Clinic to provide more oncology services for Galion area residents.
Galion City Schools superintendent Jim Grubbs talked of future plans for the Galion campus off Ohio 598.
He said the new bus garage will be completed first and will benefit student safety and save the district money. Future plans include soccer fields, an auditorium and more.
He also talked about a rough few weeks for Galion City Schools administrators and students. In the last month, there have been three bomb threats and a substitute teacher was removed from a classroom.
“Sometimes you have to live through an experience to make yourself better,” Grubbs said, admitting that rules and protocols have already been updated based on feedback from the community and others in recent weeks. “We also will continue to talk to our state legislators to get more money for school districts so students can be more safe.”
Tuesday’s guest speaker was Maggie Sheely of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who talked about the benefits Galion area and Ohio residents have seen in — and will continue to see — after tax cuts were announced last year.
“The corporate tax rate dropped from 35 to 21 percent,” she said. “That has stopped companies from moving overseas and has made us more competitive. Now we’re actually seeing overseas companies exploring the opportunity to move here.”
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