GALION — The City of Galion and the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce held a dedication ceremony for the community’s new recreation path on Thursday, June 10. Phase 1 of the Levant-Dawson Trail was completed in summer 2020, but an official ceremony was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Representatives from both entities, as well as residents and trail users, gathered at the north end of the project on Harding Way West to celebrate this new feature. City officials said it provides a safe way for residents to walk, run, and bicycle while enjoying a scenic setting.
The official name for the path was christened during the ceremony. It was named in recognition of the Levant and Dawson families, who contributed to the project.
The Levant family owns 12.5 acres of land south of Harding Way, where it formerly operated a salvage yard. The owner made a land swap with the city in exchange for the trail easement. The Dawson family owned the land of the former Keller Hall (the county children’s home) and operated the facility for more than 40 years. The Crawford County Commissioners turned over the property to the City of Galion in 2013 after the facility closed its doors.
Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary expressed his appreciation to the family members present for the event.
“Both families were very helpful in making the project happen. Mr. Levant allowed us to make this a riverside walk,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary emphasized how essential Keller Hall was to the community while in operation. After the city assumed ownership, Avita Health System leased the buildings for pediatric therapy and dialysis services. In preparation for construction of the bike path, the city worked with Avita to transfer the land, but maintain an easement for the trail.
“So many pieces came together. We worked with these families and the largest employer in the county and now we have this asset,” O’Leary said.
The head end of the Levant-Dawson Trail is located at 825 Harding Way West, next to Tim Horton’s and across the road from Pizza Hut. The current length of the path is 0.8 mile and it follows the Olentangy River from Harding Way West, south to the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
Attendees walked the path on Thursday and then a held a groundbreaking for the next phase of the project. Phase 2 will connect the south end of the trail to the west and end at Biddle Road, creating 0.5 mile of new path.
Benches will be installed along the path when delivered. Future trail amenities are also being planned.
City administration began developing the project in 2014. After making three unsuccessful grant requests to state agencies, a project request was made to the Egbert M. Freese Foundation. The annual endowment funds park and recreation projects within the city, and it contributed $280,931 for the construction of the Levant-Dawson Trail.
Iberia Earthworm Construction was the contractor for Phase 1 with subcontractors GMC Excavating, Oakstone Landscaping, Saunders Excavating, Timber Top Forestry, and Volz Fencing.