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Last year, a one-of-a-kind animal rescue facility in Granville expanded and achieved historic success for the Granville High School football team. But downtown shops closed year-round and students had to wear masks as the COVID-19 continued to affect the village.
Below are some of the top new stories from Granville in 2021.
The fox and wolf dog sanctuary is coming to Granville
Walking Wild Rescue, a nonprofit that rescues captive-bred foxes and wolfhounds and provides them with a safe haven, is located in the Granville community.
The Chatham Road area is in the process of a $ 900,000 capital campaign to fund the construction of two barns. The rescue held a groundbreaking ceremony in June for a roughly half a million dollar, 7,000-square-foot fox enclosure. The air-conditioned fox stable, which can accommodate more than 60 foxes, will include a 20,000 square meter play area, an attached kitchen for food preparation, an animal clinic, and a storage and information center.
The adjacent 4,200 square meter wolfhound barn on its 20 hectare sanctuary will have 32,000 square meters of outdoor living space.
Walking Wild aims to save foxes caught in the fur trade, as well as foxes and wolfhounds that people bring into their homes as pets, only to realize that the exotic animals are not easy to care for.
Granville athletes shone
It was a memorable year for Granville High School sports.
Related: # 9 Story of 2021: Licking County’s Sport Shone on the State Stage
It started with wrestler Douglas Terry ending a stellar career and earning his second runner-up medal, this one at 152.
Granville’s boys’ track team won an indoor state title, with the foursome of Nathan Newsom, Jacob Kreger, Keshawn Bonner and Max King winning the 800 series and Kreger, King, Dylan Christian and Ian Law winning the 1600 series.
The Blue Aces cheer team was equal to them and won a state championship.
The Granville girls’ cross country team continued their dominance through the fall. The Blue Aces finished second in Division II within three years, finishing just three points behind Minerva for the crown.
The fall lasted well into November thanks to the heroics of the Granville soccer team.
VIDEO: Granville Football wins first regional title in the program
Devon Haley’s six touchdowns on Friday led Granville to a 57-49 win over Western Brown, giving the Blue Aces their first regional title in Division III.
Kurt Snyder, Newark attorney
Granville won the program’s first regional Division III title and led an undefeated season to the state’s semi-finals. The Blue Aces won a wild shootout against Western Brown before falling to Hamilton Badin.
Granville Restaurant Shakes
Last year, restaurants came and went from downtown Granville.
More: The table is set for the relocation of the restaurant in Granville
Construction is underway at the former Granville Township Fire Department at the new Mai Chau Kitchen and Three Tigers Brewing site.
Whit’s Frozen Custard is in the process of moving from its longstanding location at 138 E. Broadway to a few doors down at 266 E. Broadway.
Hashi, specializing in sushi, Korean dishes and fresh seafood, opened at the former Moe’s Original BBQ spot on East Broadway in September.
The Granville Donatos site was permanently closed on October 29 for a number of reasons, including COVID-19, the inability to find workers, and increased rental costs.
After nearly five years in downtown Granville, SteamRoller Bagel Sandwiches closed the doors of its Prospect Street restaurant for good in December.
Outside of downtown, Ray Ray’s Meat + Three BBQ Pit opened its first restaurant with seating on 1256 Columbus Road in Granville Township.
Masking required in schools in Granville
After the mask-free school year began, the Granville Exempted Village Schools requested masks in September to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Superintendent Jeff Brown was unanimously authorized by the Education Committee on September 20 to implement the mandate “in grades K-6 pending availability and implementation of a vaccine”.
After the Ohio Department of Health updated its masking policy on Oct.25 to allow students to stay in school after being exposed to COVID-19 at school if they wear a mask for 14 days, the superintendent of said Granville, Jeff Brown, speaking on the district committee on Nov. 15 that masking is now optional for all Granville students.
More: Granville schools are switching to mask compulsory
“Our current mask status is that we strongly recommend K-12 that students remain masked,” Brown said. “However, the mask is optional so that parents have the opportunity to make this decision.”
However, the district has introduced at least one temporary mask mandate in certain classrooms if necessary.
Holiday celebrations are returning
Granville’s holiday traditions returned in 2021 after being drastically reduced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In July, elephant ears, lemon shake-ups, Dodge-’em cars and a ferris wheel were back on Broadway to celebrate the village’s annual 4th of July celebration.
Firecrackers rained down on Granville’s Wildwood Park and families lined Broadway for the annual July 5th parade.
But it wasn’t the only event that returned to its pre-pandemic state. The 36th annual Granville Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour, organized by the Granville Area Chamber of Commerce, returned to its traditional one-day format on December 4th.
Families from Granville and beyond visited the village between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. to see 76 lighted Christmas trees along Broadway and Main Street, enjoyed doing business, sampled delicious food at local restaurants, watched performances by local churches, and more.
Related: Guest column: So that Christmas stays good!
Attorney reporter Kurt Snyder contributed to this report.
Twitter: @ MariaDeVito13