GALION — Albeit with a lot of conversation, and questions and answers, Galion City Council passed several pieces of legislation this week that deal with planned improvements in and around the city.
A Wetlands Mitigation Agreement was finalized that will allow progress to go forward toward the construction of a recreation center in property gifted to Galion near the Ohio 30 and Ohio 598 intersection. Because a wetland will be harmed by construction — if and when it happens — the city agreed to pay $55,550 into a fund that will go to create or preserve other wetland areas.
Also, construction should soon start on a bike and walking trail that starts near Amann Reservoir, travels through a forested area between Hosford Road and Harding Way East, ending not far from the high school. Several residents gave easements to the city to provide a right of way for the bike trail. One resident did not, which meant for that trail to be completed, that property — 4.626 acres — was purchased from Carol and Jeffrey Kable for $13,200.
It is hoped that construction, perhaps clearing trees and ground excavation, can start yet this year.
Also, the seven-member board of the new Galion Port Authority were named and approved. The list includes Chanel Hipp, Chad Miller, Rod Staiger, Eric Kent, Chris Cochran, Gary Frankhouse and Debra Garverick.
Port authorities are created by entities, like Galion, as partners in activities that enhance, foster, aid, provide or promote transportation, economic development, housing, recreation, education, governmental operations, culture, or research within the jurisdiction of the port authority, with unique powers granted under the Ohio Revised Code.
There was concern from some council members of possible conflicts of interest among board members.
City of Galion attorney Thomas Palmer consulted with two law firms in Ohio who deal with port authorities and other entities that could be affect by conflicts of interests, authored an opinion that was given to council members. He said he was confident Galion Port Authority members were ethical enough and knowledgeable enough to admit to possible conflicts if they should occur and that other members would take steps to make sure those conflicts do not become a problem.
After much discussion, the seven members were OK’d and the port authority is now in business.
Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary announced that more funding has been received for the Ohio 598 widening project that is expected to be sold in 2021 and completed in 2022. This funding, in the amount of $550,000, means Galion’s part of the approximate $3.6 million project could be less than about $600,000, based on current estimates. State and federal funding and grants make up the remainder of the cost.
Also, the traffic light at Brandt Road and Ohio 598 is closer to fruition. Electric service is in place and the next step is getting utility poles set up to handle the traffic signal. O’Leary said last month the lights could be in place by the end of October.
Several pieces of legislation that moved funding from one fund to another to pay bills also were passed.
Galion Fire Chief Phil Jackson was given permission to apply for and accept a grant in the amount of nearly $3,000 to pay for training and equipment for the Galion Fire/EMS Department.
Also, a years-long program fixing and updating storm sewers in the southeast portion of the city, is continuing. The city is applying for a zero-interest loan in that amount $185,000 to complete the funding for Phase IV of the Southeast Storm Sewer Project that will improve life in the of Riblet and Wood Street area where residents have struggled for years with drainage issues. The total cost for this, Phase IV of the Southeast Storm Sewer Project is $600,775.
Also, council members granted area residents a pre-authorization for their plan to vacate part of Green Avenue in Galion.