There’s a lot going on in Marion, Kansas. That’s the message city officials want visitors and passers-by to receive when they see the town.
To achieve this goal, collaboration between City Administrator Roger Holter, city council, and as many community groups as can be reached has culminated in the city’s visioning project. Holter and councilors started the project in October and Monday went over the progress so far.
Holter compiled a list of issues that had been addressed in visioning meetings and brought them up before the council to discuss whether action had been taken or progress made.
The main takeaway Holter and Mayor Todd Heitschmidt had was that the visioning process is creating conversation.
“Things that haven’t been talked about seem to be bubbling up in conversation,” Holter said.
Items of discussion included a public Wi-Fi network, which has been completed; recreational activity expansion, which has been discussed in recent council meetings; vocational training opportunities, for which the city is seeking out grants; and collaborative charity relief efforts, which have come to fruition in the re-envisioning of the county food bank.
Holter also brought up the issue of creating a board of public utilities to handle municipal utilities throughout the county.
He said Hillsboro and Marion both draw water from Marion Reservoir, with the drawing points “literally a few feet from each other.”
Holter said the water production inefficiencies in the county could be fixed with multiple municipalities joining their efforts.
Holter also talked briefly about the possibility of annexing the county lake. He said while the tax base would benefit the city, the infrastructure and regulatory aspects of affixing city regulations to the lake would be a difficult process.
“In some respects it makes sense, but ultimately it comes down to dollars and cents,” Holter said. “While annexing the county lake may seem attractive, there are a lot of financial issues to be looked at.”
In other business:
- Councilors approved the purchase of buttons for Chingawassa Days for all city staff and reserve police officers working the event, at a cost of $750.
- Councilors agreed to allow Holter to negotiate a sale agreement with property owner Twila Baker for the property at 530 Walnut St., not to exceed $2,500.
- The city agreed to sell for $1 a portion of a lot to Builder’s Concrete, which is expanding its operations.