City Council, Port Authority will continue Freese Center discussions

By Andrew Carter - [email protected]

GALION — Discussions about the proposed Freese Center athletic complex will continue.

During its regular meeting on Tuesday, Galion City Council decided to meet with the Galion Port Authority on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 16-17 to talk about issues related to the Freese Center including funding for construction, infrastructure, and operations. Committee of the Whole meetings, which include all council members, will conducted following the Economic Development and Airport Committee meeting on Tuesday and after the Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Both committee meetings begin at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on the City of Galion Facebook page. The Committee of the Whole meetings will also be shown on the city’s Facebook page.

Results of the recent public survey about the Freese Center were shared during the council meeting. Clerk Julie Bell informed council members that 552 people filled out the survey online using the SurveyMonkey website and 250 people returned the paper surveys that were mailed to Galion residents along with their February utility bills.

Among those who filled out the survey online via SurveyMonkey, 68.92% expressed support for the Freese Center project, 20.84% said they do not support it, and 12.25% said they were unsure.

Results of the surveys filled out by hand and returned to city hall showed that 43.2% of those respondents are in favor of the project, 34.4% are opposed to it, and 22.4% are unsure.

Bell said many respondents expressed concerns about Freese Foundation funding being directed away from parks and recreation projects, the cost to build the proposed facility, the cost of operations and how it will be operated, expenses related to infrastructure, and if there will be any new taxes associated with it. She said many respondents said city officials should be working on bringing more jobs and a grocery store to Galion.

Law Director Thomas Palmer said he and officials with the Freese Foundation have sought advice from legal counsel concerning a Galion Port Authority proposal for funding the project. That proposal calls for the Port Authority to issue a $5 million bond that the Freese Foundation would purchase at a 3.5% fixed interest rate. The City of Galion would be responsible for the debt service on the bond for a period of 20 years. The average total semiannual debt service is estimated at $174,875, according to municipal advisors from DiPerna Advisors.

Other action

Council voted to appoint Brian Treisch to the Galion Port Authority Board of Directors. He is filling an unexpired term that runs until May 31, 2023. He replaces Chris Cochran, who resigned from the board. Treisch is the former Galion city auditor who resigned last fall due to health reasons.

Council reviewed a liquor license application from Spicy Nails and Spa LLC, located at 216A Portland Way North. Council expressed no opposition to the permit application and did not request a public hearing regarding it.

By Andrew Carter

[email protected]

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Follow @GalionInquirer on Twitter.