GALION — The city of Galion has many hidden gems around town, including an array of parks and reservoirs where residents can do anything from swimming to just relaxing to playing baseball and basketball trying out the play equipment, to fishing.
Galion City Council member Shirley Clark is chair of the Parks Committee. She said the committee is always looking at ways to improve these recreational areas.
One of the largest undertakings is on-going in Heise Park, where a massive new playground is being constructed. Clark said the playground should be finished sometime in October and will boast features that pay homage to the manufacturing history of the city.
“There will be a huge toy that looks like a Galion road grader, and a road roller,” she said. “And there will be some other smaller toys being put in for the younger children.”
She said there will be some merry-go-rounds at the new playground, t00.
Funding for the project, Clark said, was through the Freese Foundation.
“We can use that money for funding anything in the parks,” she noted, explaining the committee gets a set amount from that foundation each year for park improvements. “All the new things going in at Heise Park had to go through the Freese Committee.”
“We also will be working on our five-year plan, as the Freese Foundation has asked for that.”
Projects not funded by the Freese Foundation must first be approved by the parks committee. and then approved by city council, Clark said.
Other parks have seen improvement in recent years, too.
New features were added to the water park at East Park this year, and plans are to add more next year.
“We put the new shelter up at Amann Reservoir this year. and bathroooms right beside the shelter, and then there is the the disc golf at Amick Reservoir,” she said, pointing out people from all over come to Galion just to try out disc golf.
“We’ve also done work on our rentals,” Clark said. “If you notice up by the railroad tracks (on Harding Way East) we’re repainting the old depot and we put in that beautiful new shelter and new bathrooms will soon be going in.”
There also are plans to fix the road at Amick and the Franks shelter at Heise Park. “It really needs a lot of work,” she said.
Clark said there aren’t many plans in the works for South Park, saying it isn’t used much.
“There’s a nice tennis court there, but that park gets destroyed more than anything else,” she pointed out. “We put new bathrooms up there a couple years ago and we didn’t even have them up a day and we had to have a lot of work done.”
“Cobey Park? I’ve tried to figure out for eight years what to do with it,” Clark said, explaining she had a representative from Lowe-Volk Park come out and look at Cobey for some ideas. “We walked through it and thought maybe we could turn it into a nature park. What people don’t understand is the city does not own that whole area. We only own about 1.4 acres.”
“We’ve also talked about making that road that goes into Peco Park a little better, and in the future putting some swings in for the kids,” she said.
Clark said Powers Reservoir is a great place for people to relax and fish.
Galion’s parks draw others to the city. The water park at East Park is a big attraction.
“We have so many places for people to have family reunions. East Park has the closed-in cabin with bathrooms in it. There are also two new shelters out there and a nice walking path.
“We have girls softball played at Peco Park,” Clark said. “That new playground equipment at Heise Park is going to be a real asset. I think it is going to be a big draw. With the football field and swimming pool and everything, that park draws a lot of people, as well, from Mount Gilead, Bucyrus and even Mansfield.”
Clark said there is a lot going on with the city parks and reservoirs and hopes Galion residents see this and utilize what is right in their backyards.