Big Four Depot to be revitalized


A local treasure already identified on the National Register of Historic Places will soon undergo an extensive revitalization to ultimately become a hub of innovation and growth for the Galion community.

The Big Four Depot in Crawford County, long recognized as a beacon of civic pride, is set for a significant transformation that will position it as a driver of economic expansion and development.

The Galion Depot project is a $2.2 million renovation of the first and second floors of the 10,455-square-foot building. According to Galion officials, the Big Four Depot, strategically positioned in the central business district, not only anchors the Uptown but also serves as a bridge to the burgeoning Depot District.

Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary celebrated the announcement, saying, “We are very thankful for the support from JobsOhio, Galion City Council, Ohio Sen. Bill Reineke and Rep. Riordan McClain, North Central Area Transit, and the Crawford Partnership on this project. This renovation is a key step toward economic growth and enhancing our Uptowne, promising to be a catalyst for small business development in Galion and beyond. It’s a significant move towards a brighter future for our community.”

Plans for the first floor include new offices for Seneca-Crawford Area Transportation featuring a dispatch area, conference room, offices, breakroom, and lobby. It will also contain rentable event space. The second floor will host the anchor tenant, Galion Small Business Loft, consisting of 10 offices for lease by small businesses and startups, coworking space, a resource office for entrepreneurial counseling, and a conference room.

Among other items, renovations will include earthwork, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, construction, utilities, masonry, and exterior improvements.

David Zak, president and CEO of the Crawford Partnership, said, “Thanks to the city of Galion’s leadership, JobsOhio, and the project’s many partners, a pivotal entrepreneurship effort is being launched in Crawford County with the Galion Small Business Loft. This marks a new chapter for local business innovation and support. We’re eager to see the entrepreneurial spirit thrive in our newly established incubator and coworking space.”

The Depot initially served as the division headquarters for the Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis Railroad until 1969. Peak passenger traffic occurred around World War I with as many as 32 trains stopping per day. It also served as a frequent “whistle stop” for presidential candidates. The city of Galion purchased the building in 2000 and has since undertaken several repair projects on the property.

“The Big Four Depot in Galion speaks to the rich role Ohio has played in American history,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “Refurbishing this space listed on the National Register of Historic Places will attract new businesses to Crawford County and ensure this extraordinary structure can be celebrated for generations.”

The $2.2 million project has received commitments exceeding $1.4 million from local and state sources. In addition, JobsOhio has committed $800,000 toward the project through one of its unique incentive programs.

JobsOhio’s Vibrant Communities Program assists distressed, small, and mid-size cities with projects that fulfill a market need and represent a reinvestment in eligible cities.

“The historic Big Four Depot that once served as the division headquarters for the Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis Railway will soon serve as an economic hub to spur growth both in Uptown and in the growing Depot District,” said JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef. “When complete, this revitalized historic gem in Galion will include a new anchor tenant and additional office space to attract new jobs and create a more vibrant downtown.”

Supporting downtown revitalization has been a key pillar of the Community Development Strategy for Crawford County. A goal to focus on quality of life including beautification of public spaces aligns with the transformational power of the Galion Big Four Depot project, according to Galion officials. The city estimates additional downtown investment approaching $4 million over the next three years as well as approximately $1 million in new payroll through anchor tenant activity.

The city of Galion hopes to complete the project and open it to the public this year.

Submitted by the Crawford Partnership.

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