Galion is taking a step forward to help restore a historical building in need of repair.
Council approved a $980,000 Revolving Loan Fund request from Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, a non-profit company created in 1989, to help rehabilitate Central Hotel.
The funding is a loan from the Revolving Loan Fund which will not impact the city’s budget, Auditor Brian Treisch said.
This is from the State of Ohio,” Galion Law Director Thomas Palmer said. “These aren’t local taxes and the state can ask for it back if not used.”
The action came after all residents of the 30-unit Central Hotel, located at the southwest corner of the Public Square, were asked to leave the apartments in April.
“We’re investing over $2 million ourselves,” Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing President Hal Keller said. “Our job is to build communities, not walk away.”
Keller said if there were overages, the company will not come back to Council for additional funding.
He added that the company has thoroughly investigated issues at the building.
“Two years ago, we noticed that there were structure issues,” Keller said. “Over time, we found that the issues are much worse. We believe that the issues were covered over when the original project was approved 10 years ago. It was not acceptable and very dangerous. We thought the project was completed up to specifications.”
Officials with the company believe that 15-18 of the 30 units would be inhabitable by the end of the year, with the remainder to be inhabited several months afterwards.
Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary said he liked the terms of this loan compared to a previous grant of $218,000 which was given to the company before the hotel was originally renovated.
“We’ll have a seat at the table since this will be an equity loan,” he said.
Council also passed as a second reading a measure which would set the electric rates.
Officials have said residential customers should see about an $8 to $10 increase per month, but believe the number is offset by a $10 decrease for residents in water and sewer rates so their bills will be about the same as before.
“This is a more responsible way of drawing down the fund balance,” O’Leary said, comparing the city’s work with a proposed ballot issue which would call for an independent audit on charges that were made from 2005-2012.
“Most of the rate reductions would be to large power, with a small increase to smaller businesses, which would be offset by water and sewer. This is a much more responsible way of achieving a similar outcome.”
A third reading is set for Council’s next meeting.
Pugh is the Group Content Editor for the Galion Inquirer, Bellville Star, Morrow County Sentinel and Knox County Citizen. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @pughcivitas.