GALION — Galion City Council member Mike Richert said a decision to build a new, free-standing assisted living facility by the owners of Mill Creek Nursing facility, is a positive move for area residents.
“This is a win, win for the community,” Richart said before city council moved to rezone a parcel of land adjacent to Mill Creek and in front of the orthopedic center at the corner of Portland Way South and Hosford Road.
The land was rezoned from residential office to general commercial.
“There is a need for another facility like this in the area,” council member Thomas Fellner added, echoing comments last month by Mayor Tom O’Leary that the facility, when completed, could provide an assist to solve Galion’s housing market.
There is sentiment that some older Galion residents, who have continued to live in the homes they own, may be more willing to sell those homes if they are comfortable with the new assisted living center.
Also of potential help to that housing shortage is a recently announced plan to build new houses on the site of the old Renschville Elementary School property on New Winchester Road. Another piece of property near Parsons Street is being considered for additional single-family housing.
The ordinance was passed as an emergency.
”Why this is important to move ahead is that the developers would like to get some of the site work done before the weather chance so they can begin construction as soon as possible next year,” O’Leary said.
At a September council meeting. Scott Bickley, a representative for the company that owns Mill Creek, Foundations Health Solution, said. “ … we want to put up a 40-bed assisted living facility. In order to build the facility we are planning, we need the zoning change.”
He added that the new facility, when completed, would employ about 30 people.
“We have roughly 56 units across Ohio,” Bickley said. “This will be our first assisted living facility. It’s a way to get some residents out of skilled nursing and into assisted living, where they hopefully can get more enjoyment out of life.”
Also, city council approved legislation paying the first 10 of 35 easement agreements having to do with the 2022 program to widen Ohio 598 on Galion’s north side.
“This allows us to purchase the property and get on with it,” said Galion city attorney Thomas Palmer. “The prices are extremely minimal, most of them being $300.”
The easements allow construction workers to use the property to allow construction work to begin.
There are 35 such deals being negotiated, 10 outside the city limits, the rest within the city.
There will be a few agreements that involve buying property, but most are just easements and the property will revert to its owners after the project is completed.
That legislation also was passed as an emergency.
“If we can stay on schedule with these agreements, the state can sell the project in early July and then hopefully get some of the drainage work done next year,” O’Leary said. “Most of the new construction will be done in 2022.”
O’Leary also showed that work on the next annual city budget is already underway.
One issue ahead for the city will be to make a decision about sticking with their current insurance provider or going out on the market in search of a better deal.”
The COVID-19 pandemic will have an affect on the next budget.
“We’re all a little anxious about the revenue,” O’Leary said. “The state is anticipating a decline of about 9 percent due to the pandemic. I hope we will do better than that, but we will be conservative in our budgeting.”
He also said that there is a possibility of higher sewer and water rates in the future.
O’Leary also shared that two paving projects in the city are going as well as can be expected. They include an ODOT program to repair and pave Harding Way on Galion’s west side to near Gelsanliter Road, and part of Ohio 19 south in that area.
The other project is the city’s own urban paving project.
One change to that program is the additional paving of about 2,000 feet of North Market Street that was not previously announced.
O’Leary also shared that the state released about $365,000 of federal COVID stimulus to the Galion this week. That is on top of $270,000 already in the cit coffers.
The city is still trying to determine how to use that money to better assist Galion area residents. It’s possible some will be used to provide utility payment relief for Galion residents and businesses.
He also stated that there is agreement among other city’s in Ohio that the Ohio General Assembly be a little more urgent in its release of federal COVID-19 money to local entities. his funding was made available to Ohio several months ago.