City wants to fill vacant businesses

Staff writer

Renewing Marion’s Main Street neighborhood revitalization plan will not change its provisions but could develop the city’s downtown economy.

County commissioners voted 3-0 Monday to continue the inter-local agreement. The plan includes a 95 percent real estate tax rebate on improvements lasting 10 years. The county will retain five percent for administration of the program.

Roger Holter, city economic development director, said the plan would define zoning within the city and increase the chances of attracting businesses.

“This day and age, we need to do whatever it takes to make this happen,” Commissioner Dan Holub said.

The valley and hill areas of Main Street, along with the U.S. 56 and South Third Street corridors are covered in the plan.

The valley area of Main Street will be novelty, specialty, entertainment and tourism; the hill section for commodity and services; U.S. 56 for light industrial, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics; and South Third Street for agricultural-based commerce.

The goal for the next five years will be to fill vacated space.

“I feel as we’re looking to the future, and we’re looking to the long-term viability of the community, we’ve got to target the fine art community and get it going,” Holter said.

Commissioners also voted to contribute $2,000 to Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center for 2014.

Executive Director Candace Anderson Dixon said the center has done presentations in Marion about abuse of the elderly, and wants to be more available to the county.

State funding to the program has dwindled in the last five years.

“Our job mainly is to save your inter-relationship, whether it’s your caregiver or a relative that’s being manipulative or controlling,” Dixon said.

Extra money would help the center pay for evidence-finding equipment, future programs and the development of a rural media campaign.

Future programs include law enforcement training in November.

Nursing help also is needed for emergencies during nights and weekends.

The commission also:

  • Began figuring a timeline for ending utility payments and asbestos removal at the old jail. Andy Pitts of Treanor Architects said he hoped all asbestos would be removed by the middle of August, allowing demolition to begin.
  • Plans to post an opening for an emergency management director for the city. A grant will pay $10,300 of the emergency manager’s salary. The opening will be published on the county’s website.
  • Looked at possible plans for recycling adaptations at the Marion transfer station.
  • Contributed $3,500 to Kansas Legal Services for 2013 and 2014.

 

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