The final phase of the Portland Way South project will start next week bringing the expected traffic disruptions.
Detour signs are up now and equipment is moving in, according to city officials. Portland Way South will be closed until the project is finished. The final three phases are expected to last three months, depending on the weather.
Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary announced the start of the project at the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Economic Development Update & Business Forecast breakfast.
O’Leary was among the nine speakers at the event providing a synopsis of the city’s accomplishments last year and its outlook for 2016. In addition to the improvements of the Portland Way South, O’Leary continued to advocate for the city’s increasing involvement in economic development by taking advantage of tools such as tax increment financing districts, community reinvestment areas and a port authority.
Such initiatives would aid with the city’s projects such as the Sleep Inn & Mainstay Suites project on state Route 598 and the re-purposing of the former HTI building. If residents are enthusiastic about such projects, 2016 “will be a good thing,” he said.
In the county, Steve Crall, the community development coordinator, said the Crawford County Education and Economic Development Partnership continues its goal to fight the misconception that the area lacks jobs through its Workforce Awareness for Graduates and Educators program.
“It’s really important to get out the information that there are (jobs) available,” Crall said.
While Crall and O’Leary expressed their optimism for the future, other speakers talked about their challenges. Brad Ekin of Elliott Machine Works in Galion expressed his frustration with current government regulations and how his business is in survival mode. Don Lane, plant manager of Lifetouch Church Directories & Portraits Inc., said the company is expanding its services but has a hard time finding qualified applicants.
The remaining speakers included Dawn Ratliff of ADM Benefit Plans Agency; Thomas Hertzfeld of Alternative Energy Source; Jeff Kirk of Dostal & Krik Inc.; Jim Grubbs, superintendent of Galion City Schools; and Jerry Morasko of Avita Health System.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.