A resolution to support a rehabilitation project for Galion East Apartments was adopted by Galion City Council this week.
Cleveland-based Millennia Housing Development, Ltd. (the company that owns the complex) is applying for low income housing credits from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to fund the project. No city funds will be used.
As Council member Mike Richart explained, the company asked the city for a show of support for the project. “The apartments have been there for 30 years and really need upgraded…This is an opportunity to help these folks get funding,” he said.
Police Chief Brian Saterfield said he attended a recent community meeting about the project proposal. According to him, it will be $2-4 million in improvements, which include renovating all 60 apartment units, rehabbing the buildings, changing the exterior lighting and landscaping the property.
The Inquirer contacted Millennia Housing requesting comment and further details on the project. Our calls were not returned as of press deadline.
Mayor Tom O’Leary reported that he spoke to OHFA and informed Council that the project can get additional points if the city designates it as a “local development priority.” The more points an applicant has, the more likely it is to receive funding. Council members were favorable to a second letter being attached to designate the project as such.
Originally the city received a second request for funding support, for a project proposal from The NOAH Project. That evening, Council Clerk Julie Bell read a letter received from the organization. NOAH is unable to apply for its Eden Place project this year due to the “complexity of the application requirements” and the tight timeline for it. The letter concluded that NOAH looks forward to working with the city in the future.
During the Jan. 28 meeting, Council also voted on legislation for various construction projects and engineering services.
Ord. 2014-19 gave approval for the Safety-Service Director to advertise for bids for the construction of Philip S. Hesby Drive, a new road that will connect Bucyrus Road to the Galion City Schools campus. As part of the project, Heise Park Lane will be extended west to connect with the new road. The project cost is an estimated $1.1 million. This item passed as a first reading.
In a related matter, Ord. 2014-21 approved bidding on a project to relocate the utility poles within the construction zone of the Portland Way widening project. The project cost is $120,000; originally the mayor thought there would be a full reimbursement, but during the meeting he informed Council that the contract with ODOT obligated the city to move the poles and it must pay at least 20 percent of the cost. The item passed as an emergency.
Council approved the second reading of Ord. 2014-3, authorizing an agreement with Richland Engineering to prepare plans for the Church Street bridge repair project. The construction is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2015.
Three ordinances approved agreements with GPD Group for engineering work. The first was for a 10-year planning report at a cost not to exceed $24,600. O’Leary explained that upgrade projects for the city electrical system have been started by several past administrations, but there has never been a comprehensive plan. The objective of the report is to look at future system improvement needs; he called it “a planning tool for better budgeting.”
The agreement includes: System improvements for short term (1-2 years), near term (3-5 years) and long term (5-10 years); an investigation of electric system deficiencies; exploring economic growth potential; developing system load projections and prioritizing system improvements.
Council member Eric Webber asked how GPD Group was selected to formulate the plan. O’Leary responded that GPD has done work for the city for two generations and possesses the most knowledge of the city.
Council passed it as a first reading.
Ord. 2014-15 was an agreement with GPD to lead a maintenance and testing of electrical substations. The mayor explained this will diagnose the problems of dips and surges in electricity that Galion experiences.
“We need to get a better handle on this,” O’Leary emphasized, adding that some local businesses are being impacted.
Additionally, GPD will work with city employees to pull the data out of the substations and train them on how to extract the information regularly.
“I think we need to do what we can to help local businesses,” Webber said. He motioned to suspend the rules, which passed. The ordinance then passed as an emergency.
Joe Kleinknecht, president/CEO of the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce, thanked the mayor for meeting with the business community and working to find a solution, and thanked Council for passing the legislation. “We want to keep businesses here…If you have issues that cost you thousands of dollars every time there’s an outage, it makes a big difference,” he commented.
The third ordinance approved GPD to do engineering work at the Waste Water Treatment Plant, substation relays and the generator at the City Building. The cost is $59,900. This item passed as a first reading.
Ord. 2014-17 authorized Richland Engineering to handle all commercial services for Galion, including commercial building inspections, plan and specifications approval, and code enforcement.
The mayor noted there is already an understanding in place. The city had been losing money by handling the commercial applications in house. Now all commercial activity will be handled directly by Richland.
Council passed this item as an emergency. The Richland County Commissioners will now need to adopt a resolution to accept the terms.
Ord. 2014-13 was an agreement with Richland Engineering for services to address problems with the Pickle Run Culvert, as a cost of $12,773.
The mayor explained that the culvert runs beneath Tee Time (the former 1881 building), across the street and behind Poland’s True Value, and empties into the Olentangy River near Columbus Street.
This item passed as a first reading.
Ord. 2014-7 approved an alley vacation for an alley running from North Columbus Street to North Market Street. The request had been submitted in May of 2013, so Council passed the item as an emergency.
Ord. 2014-8 added the position of Service Department Supervisor to the staffing. This person will oversee the water, utility and maintenance crews. Council passed a first reading.
Ord. 2014-18 was an agreement with Hyperion Energy Solutions for an LED street light study, at a cost not to exceed $3,500. It passed as a first reading.