The final piece of the puzzle to put the Hesby Drive project up for bid is now in place. This new road will branch off from Bucyrus Road and run north into the Galion City Schools campus at the parking lot of the High School and Middle School. The final piece was the school transferring a property deed to the city, for a small parcel of school ground.
The Galion Board of Education approved the transfer during its Feb. 20 meeting. The total amount of land given to the city was 0.4752 acres. Included in the agreement is the parcel for connecting the campus, as well as a second parcel running to Highland Avenue.
Board member Jennifer Kuns explained the campus is not being connected to Highland at this time, but in the future if the city wanted to add another section of road there, it would be able to.
Board member Bob Zeisler asked if the funding for Hesby Drive was all there. He did not want the property deed to be approved only to have the project fall through.
Mayor Tom O’Leary, who was in attendance that evening, responded that City Council did appropriate funds, and the amount was above what the project estimate is.
Superintendent Mark Stefanik said once the road is complete, the district will split bus routes to utilize the new access to the campus, in order to alleviate some of the traffic congestion at the main entrance on Portland Way North.
The Board unanimously approved the property transfer, which led to an exchange of thank you’s.
“I appreciate the school’s cooperation. This project will help the 598 project,” O’Leary stated, referring to using it as a detour route while the bridge on Portland Way is replaced.
He also informed school officials that the project will be sold by the end of March, and if the weather permits, will begin construction in early April, noting that finishing it before the bridge replacement begins in mid June will be close.
As part of the agreement, city and school officials had previously met to discuss sidewalk preferences. Sidewalks will be constructed on the east side of Hesby Drive and on the north side of Heise Park Lane (the roadway will be extended west to connect with Hesby Drive). Some extra sidewalk will be added, to wrap around the east side of the parking lot and connect with the existing sidewalk at the main drive.
On Feb. 13, the mayor met with the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce and business owners from the Galion West Shopping Center. This was the second meeting held on the subject of building a temporary road, to provide access to the parking lot off of Heise Park Lane during the widening project.
About 15 businesses will be affected during the construction, when access from the 598 corridor will be limited: Geyer’s, Pay Day Cash Advance, Crawford Eye Clinic, El Tarasco, Fiesta Hair Salon, Cellular Central, China Garden and Family Dollar, as well as other businesses in front of the shopping center like Dollar General, Little Caesars, First Merit Bank, Subway, McDonalds, Advanced Auto Parts and Hometown Inn.
It is yet to be determined what will happen with the possible temporary road, which would measure about 280 feet in length and be able to handle large delivery trucks.
O’Leary explained the Hesby estate is willing to provide the easement and the city offered to maintain it.
Joe Kleinknecht, president/CEO of the Chamber, said now it is a matter of “who’s willing to pony up to help themselves.”
There is a $30,000 estimate for a temporary road. While the business owners did express an interest in funding it with private dollars, they first need to contact the landlord of the shopping center, Paran Management Company, Ltd. based in Cleveland.
“Business and industry are the key to success. Successful businesses mean a successful community,” Kleinknecht commented. He wants to ensure the construction does not increase the burden of losing customers.