GALION — The Galion Port Authority is proposing the sale of a $5 million bond to help fund construction of the Freese Center athletic complex.
Port Authority members Chad Miller and Gary Frankhouse and municipal advisors Michael DiPerna and Doug Cassingham from the firm DiPerna Advisors presented the proposal to the Galion City Council Economic Development and Airport Committee on Tuesday evening.
That committee is comprised of council members Dr. Thomas Fellner, At-large; Tammy Siclair-Erlsten, 4th Ward; and Aaron Ivy, 2nd Ward. Fellner serves as chairperson of the committee.
DiPerna said the proposal calls for the Port Authority to issue “a $5 million bond that is purchased at a 3.5% (fixed) interest rate by the (Egbert M.) Freese Foundation.” The City of Galion would be responsible for the debt service on the bond. According to figures DiPerna and Cassingham provided to the committee, the average total semiannual debt service is estimated at $174,875 for a term of 20 years.
DiPerna noted that Galion City Schools would still receive its annual allocation from the Freese Foundation. The city would receive a reduced annual allocation from the fund after paying the debt service.
The Freese Foundation’s fund balance is currently $11.6 million, according to information provided during the meeting.
“This is doable and reasonable,” Fellner said during the meeting. “I believe that the risks are at least laid out and understandable and, in my mind, acceptable. That’s just a personal opinion. I’m very happy with what I’ve heard here tonight.”
The Freese Foundation Board and Galion City Council would both have to approve the proposal before it can move forward.
Fellner said the Economic Development and Airport Committee members will discuss the matter with the full Galion City Council “and ultimately get some legislation in the works” to move the project along.
Miller said infrastructure (water, sewer, electric service) at the site of the facility also needs to be addressed, including extension of the roadway from the Valero convenience store on Ohio 598 to the 6.28-acre site that is bordered by U.S. 30 on its north side.
“What we’re asking is that the city and the Port enter into an agreement where the Port would pay for the engineering study that needs to be done for that infrastructure,” Miller said. “The city will obviously need to contract — I believe McKeever & Associates is your engineering design firm — for those services, but the Port would pay for that. From what we understand, there are not currently funds appropriated at the city for that expense and that’s something that (the Port Authority) could cover with our construction funds that we have currently.”
According to information about the Freese Center located on the City of Galion website, the State Capital Bill earmarked $500,000 for construction and the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $50,000 grant to the Crawford Partnership to help fund design and engineering.
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