City officials are moving ahead with a plan to revamp the bank of Luta Creek that connects to Central Park with a public fishing area. Under the plan, state workers would stock Luta Creek with channel catfish and sunfish in the spring, and a dock or a trail would be installed later in the year.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks would pay the city $1,030 a year to make the area a publicly designated fishing spot, provided 75 percent of the money goes toward maintenance, economic development director Terry Jones told the city council on Monday.
If the legislature does not fund the program, then the deal is off. But if the state makes the funds available, Marion would qualify for $40,000 worth of grants annually for public amenities.
“The ultimate goal is to provide a nice fishing area for families right next to Main Street, so it will be lit and safe,” Jones said.
Councilman Jerry Dieter said that stretch of Luta Creek becomes mossy in the summer, but city administrator Roger Holter said the city can increase the flow of water at the north end of town through a gate in the creek.
Jones said the city does not need approval of property owners in the area of Luta Creek where the publicly designated fishing would be located, but Jones is meeting with them anyway and so far has not encountered opposition.
The idea to make a public fishing hole at the creek next to Central Park came from the group PowerUps, which is a dozen or so young adults who identify themselves as “rural by choice” and meet monthly in Marion County, Jones said.
In other business:
- The city council renewed the Blue Cross Blue Shield health benefits package for city employees. The health coverage for 2015 will remain the same as it has been since 2010, but this year employees will have the option of enrolling in one of two dental plans. The plan also covers the cost of pharmacy-sold vaccines and flu shots but will no longer cover the cost of erectile dysfunction drugs, said a Blue Cross Blue Shield representative.
- Council members conceptually approved the creation of a 48,000-square-foot retention pond with a recreational walking path in the industrial park. Dollar General, which may decide this week whether it will build a store in Marion, would receive free fill from the pond site, which would be southwest of the proposed Dollar General site at US-56 and Industrial Rd. Holter said the pond should improve flooding conditions in nearby residential areas.
- Council members moved the location of Central Ag Air LLC at the Marion Municipal Airport further to the south on the property in order to comply with FAA setback and airspace requirements. The original location approved last month placed the company 65 feet from the northern boundary.