GALION — The city of Galion is looking forward to good things to come in 2019.
Mayor Tom O’Leary is spending little time thinking of the past these days, and putting his energy into what lies ahead.
“Looking back on the changes that have happened in our city government over the years, the transitions have turned out better than expected,” O’Leary said. “It wasn’t easy, but we were able to begin to knit the community back together.”
The mayor went on to say that while the nay-sayers will always exist, they aren’t the majority.
“Negative voices have quieted down. You have to look harder to find it,” he said.
One of the first issues to be looked at in 2019 is the current housing demand. A housing study is set to take place soon to evaluate that situation, according to the mayor.
“We don’t expect the study to tell us anything new at all. We need housing,” O’Leary said.
He noted that most employees who are new to the Galion, are living closer to Mansfield because of the housing options in that area. Losing residents to Ontario is not something O’Leary wants to allow continue.
“We are currently evaluating the areas of vacant land in Galion, and the availability is there. I see this as a huge positive, and a definite priority for our town,” he said.
Another very-long awaited and much needed addition to Galion will be a traffic signal to be installed at the Brandt Road and Ohio 598 intersection.
“It should be installed close to Labor Day,” O’Leary noted.
The intersection has long been a topic of conversation due to the number of collisions that seem to occur year round. The city will also be spending several hundred thousand dollars to widen that area of 598 after the light is installed.
With the closing of Geyer’s grocery store in 2018, many residents are anxious to see if a new store will be opening in 2019 in Galion to fill that need.
“The landlord is actively working to find a new tenant. The city is involved and has offered assistance,” said O’Leary. “I can tell you that two perspective parties are currently interested.”
“The grocery dynamic is evolving in this area based upon the bigger chains and what they have to offer,” he said. “The city is supporting this need as much as we can.”
Recreation-rise, residents and their families have two outdoor additions to look forward to for 2019.
A play area at Heise Park, as well as the first phase of a Recreational trail will give adults and children new options for outdoor activities this summer.
The playground is set to completely — tentatively — by the beginning of July according to O’Leary. The theme of the equipment is a nod to the road machinery manufacturing days which are a big part of Galion history. A grader and a roller piece will be included as “activity gyms” along with a sand digging area and child appropriate zip lines.
The pieces will also be painted a color titled “Galion Gold”, which is a replica of road machinery colors from years ago that were produced in Galion.
Many pieces of the equipment are also designed to be inclusive for children with disabilities.
It is hoped that construction on the recreational trail, while still in the planning process, begin in 2019. Phase one of the trail will run from Hosford Road behind the water treatment facility to Bucyrus Road.