City drivers may share road with golf carts, ATVs

Staff writer

Residents wishing to drive their all-terrain-vehicles, golf carts, and other small-motorized vehicles on city streets might get their wish in the next few weeks. Marion City Council and Police Chief Tyler Mermis discussed the possibility of an ordinance that would conditionally allow residents to drive those vehicles into town.

“This is something we’ve had a lot of residents want,” Mermis said. “I feel like we should give residents the opportunity to try and make this work.”

The proposed ordinance mirrored other city ordinances across the state that allow ATVs and golf carts on city streets, lays out rules drivers must follow.

Fines for the ordinance would be strict to promote safe use, Mermis said. Residents could be fined between $100 and $500 for a first offense. After a second offense, residents would be fined between $250 and $1,000. The vehicle could be seized and the driver sentenced to 30 days in jail with a fine between $250 and $1,000 after a third offense.

Residents living in and outside city limits wishing to drive their ATVs or golf carts into town must have them inspected by the police for proper brakes and mirrors, and pay a $100 annual registration fee. A slow-moving vehicle sign must be present on the vehicles, as well as a sticker showing drivers have had the vehicle inspected.

Drivers must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license. Passengers must be at least 14 years old with no more than four per vehicle. Anyone under 18 using an ATV must wear a helmet, and protective eyewear must be worn on any vehicle not equipped with a windshield. If the vehicle is not equipped with blinkers, drivers must use hand signals. Any vehicle without headlights is not permitted to operate after 10 p.m. until sunrise the following day.

For those not registered within the city wishing to use their ATV, golf carts, or other vehicles during community and city events can obtain a special one day-permit for $3 after having the vehicle inspected by police.

All vehicles must obey all traffic laws and are not permitted on streets with a speed limit of more than 35 mph, or on Main St. because of its state highway status.

One stipulation to passing the ordinance is a path that would allow vehicles access from the valley to the hill without traveling on Main St. Mermis suggested widening the sidewalk on the north side of Main St. to 9-feet to create an ATV lane.

Industrial park

Two changes will come to the industrial park. City businesses will be given the opportunity to have their logo placed in the extra room on a city billboard in the park off US-56.

Five blank spaces are available for $50 per month to businesses.

The sign was originally built to advertise businesses within the industrial park. Since there are not enough businesses in the park to fill the sign, Marion economic development director Terry Jones thought it might be a good way for businesses within town to get highway exposure.

If a new business comes to the park, they get first pick at the sign as part of the contract for land within the park.

The second change within the park is the city’s plan to lease empty space within the former Arlie’s building to residents wishing to house boats or recreational vehicles.

“There’s a lot of empty space just sitting there, and we could use it to make back some money we spend on the building,” Jones said.

There is 5,000 square feet of space available. The city will charge residents per foot of space needed and install a keypad entry on one of three bay doors within the empty space for secure customer access.

Marion Police and Sherriff’s department will still use the building as an impound, and Skywalkers gym currently rents half of the building, which is walled off from the storage area.

In other business:

  • Mayor Heitschmidt declared Aug. 15 as Joy Waldbauer, Skye Young, and Allysa Young day for their painting of the Sept. 11 mural in Liberty Park.
  • Tiffany Jeffrey was appointed city clerk. Advertising to fill her former position as courts clerk will begin immediately.
  • The 2013 audit by Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk, and Loyd showed the city had no budget violations.
  • A payment of $64,597 to Vogts-Parga for work on the streets was approved.
  • Becky Makovec was designated the Kansas Power Pool alternate delegate.
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