No community is perfect.
But things are going pretty well right now in Galion.
Kids, teens and adults are doing a lot of good things that are making this community a really nice place to live.
Ground was broken last week on a $4.4 million apartment complex in Galion. Yes, here .. in Galion. It’s being built off Carter Drive, just north of the Drug Mart Plaza.
Galion is getting its first official hiking and bike trail. It will be constructed in what used to be overgrown land, some of it part of and old junk/recycling business that has been vacant for years. While that piece of property is not being “developed,” it’s quite an improvement over what it used to be. And I imagine there will be some type of development soon.
Plans are still being made for an all-purpose recreation center to be built near the Ohio 598/U.S. 30 intersection. A wetland mitigation program was approved last week, another step toward that future positive possibility.
Speaking of that area, a stop-light will soon be up and working, and will hopefully make the Brandt Road, Ohio 598 intersection a less frustrating and dangerous place to navigate.
Also, a multi-million dollar plan to widen Ohio 598 from Carter Drive (Drug Mart) to Ohio 30 is expected to be sold next year and completed in 2022.
Work continues on a new playground area in Heise Park. Take a tour of the area and see what they’re doing. Some of the equipment being installed is an homage to Galion’s industrial and manufacturing past.
Galion’s Oktoberfest returned last weekend after a one-year hiatus. No one knew if it would be back, but thanks to Galion business owner Jim Hedges, it’s back … and the weekend crowds were appreciative, and hungry, according to food vendors who were in danger of running out of goods.
It’s the second iconic Galion festival to make a comeback in recent years.
After more than a decade without, Galion’s Sarah Capretta took a leap of faith a few years ago and led an effort to restart the Pickle Run Festival. Traditionally, it was held on Labor Day, now it’s an annual part of Galion’s Independence Day celebration and its great to see all those hundreds of people visiting our community.
We have a lot of old buildings in Galion.
But steps are being taken — not to tear them down — but to refurbish and find new uses for them.
The Gill House, an iconic, long vacant residence at the corner of Harding Way West and Gill Avenue, is undergoing a transformation to make it look as good as it did generations ago. The Preserving Galion group is having creative fundraisers and putting in a ton of volunteer hours to pay for and work on the rehab. “Swinging on the Porch” will return next year. And if you get a chance to tour the Gill House, by all means do it.
The Big Four Depot is in the midst of a rehab, too. Crawford and Seneca counties announced previously plans to merge their public transportation offices. The Galion offices will be at the Depot. That’s just one business there, but it’s a start. Also, in the past year, the Galion Depot Pavilion opened for business and is available for rent. Call the city for information.
Galion’s Heise Park is a sort of a “showcase” for the community. High school and other sports leagues play and practice there, as to the Galion Graders. But the other parks have not been forgotten. New restroom facilities have been installed at East Park, South Park and Amann Reservoir Park. A new splash park facility is open at East Park.
And speaking of the downtown area, it is ever-changing. New shops and restaurants and business owners keep moving to the area. If you walked the streets of uptown Galion 15 years ago after 6 p.m., you were likely walking alone, and dodging skate-boarders and clouds of cigarette smoke. That’s no longer the case. There are still some vacancies along Harding Way, but the ones between the municipal building and the Ohio 598 intersection typically don’t stay vacant long.
I remember the days when there were few places to get a sit-down breakfast in this community. Now there are a good number to choose from. Lunch in Galion at a sit-down restaurant used to be a challenge, too. That is no longer the case.
Now, if someone would just open shop in the old Payne’s Pizza storefront. Anyone want to loan me a $100,000?
Galion Community Theatre is active and has a new production every few months.
The Galion Historical Society continues to leave it’s mark on Galion. That group is now hosting “Clue” nights, ghost hunts and other paranormal programs. The Veterans Banner program has taken off like no one every imagined it would.
Right now, the Galion football team is undefeated and ranked No. 1 in its region in the state playoff ratings. Galion’s volleyball program is having another stellar season and leads its league standings. Galion has one of the top cross country runners in the state in Braxton Tate and once again, the boys golf team at Galion High School is one of the best around.
Galion’s cross country teams have — for two years — been collecting and donating hundreds of pairs of used tennis shoes. Sure they’re doing it to raise money, but also, they’ve helped out too many people to count since their campaign started two years ago.
Also, Galion American Legion Scarbrough Post 243, has restarted Bingo in this community. To say it’s been a hit is an understatement, The American Legion has donated thousands to area schools and churches and non-profits to help those in need thanks to its Bingo efforts.
And last, but not least, there will be hundreds of former Galion High School graduates in town this week. It is another Galion Connections Weekends, with plans Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. If this wasn’t a fun place to visit, those folks would not come back each week.
That’s just a short list of the positive things happening in Galion. I took me less less than an hour.
I’m sure there are some negatives in the community, and I’m certain I’ll read about them. But I’ll bet it will be hard to come up with a list of negatives as long as this list of positives in the time it took me to write this column … about 75 minutes.
Thank you all for making Galion a better place to live!
Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Email Russ Kent at [email protected]