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Growth was the recurring theme Tuesday morning during the annual Business Forecast Breakfast. The Galion-Crestline Chamber of Commerce presented the event and breakfast was catered by Galion Community Hospital.
Mayor Tom O’Leary spoke about the formation of a local development team. “Government plays a supplemental role in business development, but this team really wants to work with businesses that want to invest in the community. What’s happened in terms of relatively small but positive new business growth I fully expect to continue going into this year.”
He also highlighted the new Splash Park which opened last summer. Nearly 9,000 visitors enjoyed the new facility. “We’re looking forward to a full season this year. Get out there, it’s a prominent feature,” he said.
In terms of upcoming projects, O’Leary noted a section of State Route 598, from Heise Park Lane to Carter Drive, will receive a sewer line replacement and a total reconstruction of the roadway. The project will occur this summer and take 6-8 weeks to complete.
Jim Grubbs, superintendent of Galion City Schools, said the district is focused on changing the school culture through various programs, such as Leader in Me, the middle school’s Gateway to Technology program (robotics), and College Credit Plus courses in the high school.
“You show me a strong school, I’ll show you a growing community,” Grubbs concluded.
Crawford County Economic Development Director Gary Frankhouse referred to Mayor O’Leary as a “pioneer” for his ability to explore the path ahead and usher in change. Through the addition of Hesby Drive, for example, businesses were able to survive during the Portland Way widening project.
Frankhouse also credited O’Leary’s use of innovative development initiatives such as making the Community Reinvestment Area available citywide. “It’s a discount for investment. We’re trying to drive new people into the community,” he said.
Jerry Morasko, CEO of Avita Health System, noted Avita’s new hospital located in the Richland Mall opened recently. The healthcare provider is also strengthening its cardiology program, adding new doctors within several specialties, and adding a distribution center in Crestline.
Sleep Inn & Suites in Galion opened in February. General Manager Eric Pittman was on hand to share some highlights of the business. It contains 62 rooms, a fitness center, and an indoor pool. It is also the only hotel in a 60-mile radius with a shuttle van.
Sean Longstreth of Longstreth Memorials said his business is combining operations and moving to a new location on State Route 598. Several new features will be added to better serve clients, including an observation room and digital design stations.