Galion City Council grants tax breaks for apartment development; Improvements plan OK’d for Galion airport


GALION — Galion City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday night granting a temporary tax break to the company developing a new apartment complex on Carter Road.

Five Galion LLC, owned by Canton-based real estate developer Grant Giltz, plans to build a $4.4 million, 90-unit complex that will feature enclosed garages for tenants. Initial construction will feature two buildings that will house 36 units. The project is scheduled to begin this spring and be completed by the fall of 2021. Giltz also built the Drug Mart plaza on Carter Drive.

According to Ordinance No. 2019-33, Galion City Council established an expanded Community Reinvestment Area that includes the Carter Road property. Council voted unanimously to grant Five Galion LLC a 100 percent reduction in real property tax over a 15-year period.

The Galion City School District Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution in support of the tax break for Five Galion LLC during its meeting May 21. Pioneer Career and Technology Center’s board also approved the measure.

“This doesn’t cost the schools any money,” Mayor Tom O’Leary said. “The schools get the same amount of real estate and the same amount of voted millage on the renewal. That is one of the large sources of their income these days.”

Under terms of a compensation agreement associated with the legislation, Five Galion LLC will pay $3,000 per year for 15 years to the Galion City School District. The company will pay $250 per year for 15 years to Pioneer Career and Technology Center.

During its April 23 meeting, council approved an ordinance rezoning the 3.3748-acre parcel located on Carter Drive from general commercial to residential multi-family. Residents of the adjacent Briarwood Drive neighborhood have expressed opposition to the project.

“I can’t recall the last time somebody spent four and a half million dollars on housing in this community,” O’Leary said. “This doesn’t come along all the time.”

Also, council members passed two ordinances related to lighting improvements and rehabilitation of the runway, taxiway, and apron at the Galion Municipal Airport. The first, Ordinance No. 2019-34, allows Safety Service Director Nicole Ward to pursue grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Capital Improvement Program. The total amount of the grant being sought is $449,779. The local and state shares will each be in the amount of $25,159.50.

Ordinance No. 2019-35 paves the way for Ward to advertise for bids and enter into a contract with the lowest and best bidder to provide runway and taxiway lighting replacement at the airport. The total cost of that project is not to exceed $400,037.

Ward said there have been issues recently with the runway lighting at the airport.

“We’ve had to put out $8,000 just to get it functioning again, so it’s a much needed upgrade,” she said. “I think the lighting out there is 40-plus years old. This is going to be a big upgrade for safety reasons. We’ve had some instances where we’ve had to put out a notice for no night-time landing because the runway lights aren’t working.”

“This is one of those irons that’s been in the fire for a while,” said William Comerford, 1st Ward council member. “It’s on our 10-year plan for the airport using the available federal funds.”

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By Andrew Carter

Galion Inquirer