Robert Fettke, a regional representative with the business development division of the Kansas Department of Economic Development, gave the Marion Chamber of Commerce a short presentation on economic development at the chamber’s luncheon Friday.
Fettke stressed using the state department as a resource — first, as a point of contact, second, to take advantage of state program opportunities, and third, as an educational resource.
An example of a program is the Rural Opportunity Zone program, which was passed in July and applies to Marion County. The program gives employees moving from out-of-state an exemption from paying state income tax. For college graduates, moving to rural zones, the program pays $1,500 a year toward student loans.
Sample incentives Fettke offered to entice a business to move to Marion included tax abatements, revolving loan funds, a waiver of fees, donation of land, and a machinery exemption.
Marion PRIDE representative Pam Bowers informed the chamber of the Celtic Celebration the organization is sponsoring to be held March 3 at the Marion Community Center. The event will include Celtic bands and a meal of corned beef and cabbage and soda bread.
The annual legislative coffee will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday. It will feature appearances by Kansas Rep. Bob Brookens and Sen. Jeff Longbine.
Doug Kjellin also gave the chamber an update about the freshly opened Central Station Youth Center. He said the center has a solid base of volunteers and averages between 20 to 40 children a night, between 9 and 11 p.m. when open. Kjellin is hoping to attract more attendees with a possible pool tournament and other events.