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GUEST COMMENTARY: Dreams need plans to thrive

I have been quiet when it has come to publicly responding to actions and articles that have covered the city administration’s visits with various organizations trying to get a “Vision for Marion.” Since I was not a part of those groups to hear the discussion, I have written this letter in response to Eliot Sill’s editorial in the Dec. 10 edition of the paper.

In 2007, the Planning and Zoning Commission was given the task to update the comprehensive plan for Marion. A public hearing was held at which about 80 people or more attended. During that meeting, commission members listened to the “wishes” and “concerns” for the future of Marion.

I took over three pages of notes at that meeting, making sure names of persons speaking were written down. From that meeting, the Commission set about to try to address the wishes and concerns in an updated five-year comprehensive plan for Marion. The updated plan was then given to the City Council for “amendments.”

The city administrator at the time, David Mayfield, gave his two-page recommendation for planning for the “wishes” and “concerns.” Unfortunately, the recommendations consisted of no planning to address the plan, but for the most part disagreed or flat shot down most of what could be planned for the future. This plan included such wishes and concerns as new sidewalks, improvement for the 12.5 electric system, budgets for the commissions, improvement in the condition of the burn site, general clean-up for the city, improvements in the downtown area, and the list went on.

This is where I, as mayor, maybe should have more strongly pushed for the input of the boards and commissions. I feel this would have let the citizens of the city know the new five-person council was listening.

In response, I had planned a day retreat. The agenda would have included representation of the organizations, boards, and commissions, to come and help the council set priorities for accomplishing the goals set out in the plan. The staff would have been participants to give ideas they had. Of course, all of the retreat would have been open to the public and covered by the press.

As you maybe know, this retreat never occurred. Again, I apologize for not holding the council or city administrator accountable for not having the retreat.

I would like to see the organizations and city council continue to hold open hearing meetings to discuss not only “dreams,” but plans for fulfilling those dreams. That way the Record can start a calendar of events for those meetings and get the “show on the road”!

Remember, it takes involved, informed persons to get a job done, instead of just seeing the orange cones to mark the site.

Mary Olson

Former Marion mayor

Last modified Dec. 17, 2014

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