Galionites thrilled with U.S. 30 opening
By PAMELA HENNEY Inquirer Editor
"I bet my friends I'd never live to see this day," Gene Sherer explained during Galion's continuation of the U.S. 30 opening celebration yesterday. "They're all dead but I'm here. This is a great day."
For decades Galionites have been waiting to have their city put back into a vital position on the state of Ohio's transportation map. Yesterday, with the opening of the new U.S. 30 running between Galion and Crestline from Ontario to Bucyrus, Galionites got their wish.
In a crowded Galion Airport hangar, area residents gathered following a police and fire escorted caravan drive along the freeway from Ohio 598 to Ohio 61.
"It was a little slow," Craig Clinger noted about the caravan drive which hit a top speed of 35-40 miles an hour in the 65 mph speed limit zone, but "it was nice to be able to see all the borrow pits -the new fishing holes" along the way.
Tina Joslyn pointed out the people who lined the Fairview and Nazor Road bridges to wave to the folks driving in the two caravans -the first being the group with the official grand opening ceremony in Bucyrus earlier yesterday and the second the Galion caravan.
"It was fun to wave at the (construction) workers too," she added.
Construction crews were out in force installing mile markers and other signage along the new highway.
For Galion Area Chamber of Commerce Director Joe Kleinknecht and Community Improvement President Steve McElhatten, there is more to the new highway than time saved and a scenic view. The two organizations hosted the continuation of the opening ceremony.
During their comments, both men highlighted the importance of U.S. 30's economic potential for the communities along it.
"We will see our city change in ways we can't even imagine," Mr. McElhatten cautioned.
He and the other speakers, Ohio Department of Transportation Deputy Director of District 3 Tom O'Leary, state Sen. Larry Mumper, state Rep. Steve Reinhard and more, emphasized the need to ensure good growth along U.S. 30. All that should happen in a way which reflects the culture and values of the community, they noted.
Former Galion chamber directors Dan Ritchey and Dave Dayne were also honored for their efforts in initiating the process of urging the state to build the four-lane: U.S. 30 bypass..
Their efforts highlighted both the economic landlock of the Galion and Crestline communities, as well as serious safety issues of having so much truck traffic mixing with local traffic on what is now County Road 330.
Story taken the Galion Inquirer’s Friday, August 5, 2005 paper