Mayor addresses housing issues
Marion Mayor Todd Todd Heitschmidt spoke to Marion Kiwanis Club members about economic development Tuesday.
In addition to expanding low-income housing, Marion needs to capitalize on recent growth of industry in McPherson, he said.
“They can’t handle all the new growth and jobs there,” he said. “We need to take a percentage of that growth and bring it here.”
The city recently received final permits for moderate housing construction at Coble St. Water lines are in place, but sewer lines and other infrastructure are needed.
More emphasis should be on training high schoolers to work in trades like building houses, particularly since Marion High School no longer has a vocational program, he said.
“We think it’s important to the future of the community to let kids know not everybody’s going to college,” Heitschmidt said. “If the school isn’t stepping in to let kids know there are alternatives, we need to help communicate there are options.”
The school has four students participating in a program to become police officers when they graduate. That success needs to be built on, he said.
Water districts in the county lack funds to make necessary upgrades, but it makes more sense to work together, he said. He hopes to find a way to work with Hillsboro in the future.
“For a county of 13,000, it doesn’t make sense to dump $5 million each into two communities,” Heitschmidt said. “It makes more sense to do something cooperative.”
Last modified Oct. 18, 2018