Pavilion project planned for Galion Big Four Depot

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Galion Depot, Inc., has announced its plans to build a multi-use pavilion on the grounds of the historic Big Four Depot.

The organization was formed last year with the purpose of preserving, restoring and rehabilitating the Depot. The first funding opportunity for the effort was a $200,000 Ohio Cultural Facilities Grant, which was originally awarded to the City of Galion in 2003.

Last November, several members of Galion Depot, Inc., met with a representative from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (which administers the grant) to check on the status of the funding, and if it could now be used. As it turned out, the State of Ohio was in the process of clearing its books of all outstanding grants, including this one.

Galion Depot, Inc. was charged with presenting a project to be funded, or the grant will not be honored. There are four criteria involved:

The project must be approved by the OFCC by June 30, 2016 (end of the fiscal year).

Grant monies must be spent on new construction. NOT repair or restoration work.

The project must be operational at the end of construction.

It must present culture in some way.

For more information about the grant, visit the OFCC website:

Pavilion Details

Due to these criteria, the Galion Depot, Inc. Board of Trustees decided it was not feasible to touch the Depot building. Instead, the grant will be used to construct a pavilion that can be used by the community.

However, this is unlike anything Galion currently has:

The structure will stand on the north end of the property. The design is rectangular, 1,500 square feet in size unless it needs scaled down to fit within the project budget. This is larger than the first floor of the Depot.

It features an open truss floor plan that will mimic old rail bridges. The walls of the long sides will contain three foldable windows in order to provide both open and enclosed event space. The floor will be at ground level and the ceilings will be 12 feet high.

Estimated cost is $100 per square foot, which puts the total cost at $150,000 (remaining funding must be set aside for contingency fees). We are trying to incorporate a heating source into the project budget so that the pavilion could potentially be used year round. No bathrooms are included in the project at this time but are a future option.

Potential uses: weddings, reunions, live entertainment, historical reenactments, cultural activities, farmer’s markets, and a fund raising venue for future Depot projects.

SPECIAL NOTE: A safety fence separating the Depot property from the railroad tracks is also part of this initiative, but may or may not be included in the grant funding. The Board is currently looking at all options.

“The big point I want to stress to the community is that this grant cannot be used for repair or restoration,” Board President Marty Cecil said about the project.

“This also gives us a way to use the depot grounds before we have all the needed money for the depot restoration,” Board Vice President Beth Comerford added.

Trustees Ben Karam and Matt Echelberry are spearheading the grant application for the project.

“The pavilion is just the first step of many. We can’t wait to build interest in our efforts and get more volunteers involved,” Echelberry said.

“Our ultimate goal is to actively restore the Depot as a symbol of Galion’s historical significance,” Karam explained. “Our vision is to create a mixed-use space that can be a cornerstone of our downtown’s revitalization.”

The Depot restoration is a long-term initiative and it will take a combination of interior, exterior, structural and grounds projects to complete it. We are building an organization that

will pursue multiple sources of funding including grants, fundraisers, donations and event/space revenue.

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