Gluckstadt will finally become a city as early as next month after a chancery judge ruled last week in the years-long incorporation effort.

Barring any sort of appeal, Gluckstadt could hold its first city meeting to adopt a tax levy, hire employees, and conduct city business as early as May. 

Chancery Judge James Walker is expected to enter his final order this week and opponents will have 30 days to appeal. 

The city of Canton, which concurrently was seeking to annex several different areas, was granted two of five requested sections containing rooftops and the Peco chicken plant. 

The city of Canton would be the most likely to appeal the incorporation of Gluckstadt, although one alderman said to his knowledge everyone is happy with the ruling.

Canton’s Ward 3 Alderman Les Penn said the city was “happy with the results,” despite himself being a vocal opponent of annexation. 

“Everyone at City Hall that’s been working on the annexation is happy with the results,” Penn said. He said the board discussed the topic in executive session on Tuesday, though he declined to go into detail about the extent of the conversation. 

Penn said everyone was happy that one section incorporators sought for Gluckstadt was not approved, a sliver of land from Stout Road up to Highway 22 that includes Panther Creek. 

“It was good for the city of Canton the judge didn’t let Gluckstadt come all the way up to Highway 22,” Penn said. “That would have shut off Canton to the west. That was a positive result.”

Attempts to contact Canton Mayor Dr. William Truly were unsuccessful. 

Walker ruled that Canton could annex Area 1 and Area 2 of the five proposed areas for annexation. Area 1 is located north of the city and includes homes on streets such as Jody Drive, Davis Avenue, Wayne Drive and Johnson Drive. This was the largest section of the proposed annexation plan. Area 2 is sandwiched between existing city property and takes in West Side Drive and part of Third Avenue, including the Peco plant. 

Area 3 was located west of the Nissan plant and I-55. Area 4 was located east of I-55 and south of the Nissan plant. Area 5 was located west of I-55 down Calhoun Station Parkway from Church road to what would be even with Kehle Road. This was land included in the Gluckstadt city limits. 

In Walker’s ruling, he found the city could provide “reasonable public and municipal services” for Areas 1 and 2 and that Canton had met the 12 criteria for annexation. He said the other three areas failed to meet the 12 criteria. 

Gluckstadt incorporators now anxiously await the final order and hope the appeals deadline passes with no filings.

“While there were certain residents in the northern portion of the Panther Creek neighborhood who desired to be included within Gluckstadt, the court’s ruling was sound and firmly based on all evidence presented at trial,” John Scanlon, an attorney for the incorporation, said. “Many people have worked very hard and with little reward for years, in some cases more than 10 years, for this day to come. Overall, our clients are pleased with the court’s opinion and decision, and we all look forward to beginning the new city of Gluckstadt so that the residents there may begin seeing an improvement in services they receive for an area that has for quite some time been booming in growth.”

Gluckstadt will initially be governed by Mayor Walter Morrison and the following aldermen: Miya Warfield-Bates, Wesley Slay, Jayce Powell, John Taylor and Lisa Williams. An election will be held the next municipal election cycle in 2021.