The basement of the community center, formerly home to numerous events, is being made over as a business and telecommunications conference center.
Proposed to city council members by Parks and Recreation director Margo Yates, who said Marion Advancement Council will reimburse the costs of the remodel, the center will be set up with video conference equipment in a 46-by-28-feet meeting room that will accommodate up to 72 people. An executive communications office will be adjacent to the meeting room, and a 48-by-20-feet entertaining and catering area will be parallel to the meeting room.
The center is intended to be used by businesses and groups in the community, Yates said.
Council members voted to approve the project. Yates wants to begin work this week.
Residents who purchase homes in areas of town formerly considered flood-prone will benefit from a new flood plain map developed for Marion. The map changes areas now protected by the city’s flood levee. Holter said the only thing still needed for the map to be finalized is a public hearing in late summer.
Despite delays in the county’s promised meetings with emergency responders to help implement countywide 800 MHz emergency radio systems, Marion is taking the bull by the horns and getting its own system for the police department.
Police chief Tyler Mermis showed city council members quotes on models he recommends and shared information about a Department of Agriculture grant program that could provide 35 percent of the $37,480 cost, leaving the city to finance $24,368.
Part of the city’s cost could come from drug seizure money, Mermis said.
City administrator Roger Holter proposed a five-year lease purchase agreement.
The purchase would include eight dashboard-mounted radios, eight handheld radios, and one rear-mounted radio for the chief’s car.
Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said he is disappointed the county proposed the new emergency radio system and has not scheduled meetings to discuss it with emergency agencies, but moved to approve the police department to apply for the grant. Council members voted 4-0, with Melissa Mermis absent.
In other matters, council members:
- Heard an annual report from city librarian Janet Marler;
- Heard that a CDBG grant application for a sidewalk project was denied; and
- Heard a report from Heitschmidt on the annual Day at the Capital and a report from electrical supervisor Christian Pedersen and council member John Wheeler on the Kansas Municipal Utilities training.