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Sale of reserved land to dollar store protested

Staff writer

More than a dozen citizens arrived with a petition signed by 63 residents at Monday night’s Marion City Council meeting to protest an agreement signed two weeks ago to sell property at the southwest corner of the industrial park for development of a dollar store.

Ruth Lange, who lives near property that Dollar Tree wants to purchase, told council members traffic at the intersection already was congested.

She also said the property, platted as reserved, was necessary for drainage.

Lange gave council members a petition bearing 63 signatures of residents opposed to selling the property.

“The area is designated as major, major drainage for a large area from Eisenhower St., the cemetery area, and all streets to the west to Roosevelt St. and from at least two, maybe three blocks south on each of those streets,” Lange said. “The new housing on Coble St. has made for less land that is absorbing drainage and rain water.”

Lange asked who authorized the sale.

Neighbor Pat Smith complained that the property was not meant for development.

“We were assured that there would not ever be anything there except the use it was meant for, that being drainage,” she said.

Smith also contended that property values in the immediate neighborhood would go down.

Orville Pfeiffer, who lives nearby, said he had seen large quantities of water flow through the area and back up onto the streets.

“I think there’s got to be a better place,” Pfeiffer said. “There’s a lot of water that goes through there. My point is you don’t mess with Mother Nature and water.”

Mayfield told audience members it was hard to turn down a business wanting to come to Marion.

City administrator Roger Holter said the sale gave both the city and the buyer 120 days to back out.

“I just want to say you people are servants,” Smith said. “You are elected, and you are to serve us.”

Holter asked whether economic development and bringing in business was serving the community.

“I just want to say location, location, location,” Lange said. “There is a lot of flat area they can build on.”

Herbel said she doesn’t see why the store couldn’t be built 100 feet north.

Pfeiffer said letting another dollar store move into the industrial park amounted to turning the city’s back on a Dollar General store already there.

“If you guys don’t want businesses to come to Marion, we can just turn everybody down,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield told protesters the city would consider their perspectives.

“We have 120 days,” Mayfield said.

After the meeting adjourned, Mayfield approached the group of objectors and said he would give their signatures to the company wanting to buy the land.

City council members approved the sale on a split 3/2 vote two weeks ago to sign a letter of support for development of the store project and a real estate contract for 800 N. Roosevelt St. Mayor David Mayfield and council members Chris Costello and Susan Gray in voted in favor and council members Ruth Herbel and Jerry Kline opposed it.

The newspaper requested a copy of the signed contract. It was not provided by press time.

In other business, council members:

  • Approved a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant agreement to Daryl and Megan Jones for renovation of the former MacGregor’s building, 301 E. Main St. The Joneses are to pay $180,616 in matching funds.
  • Heard a proposal from Ashley Unruh to build a camper and boat storage facility in the industrial park and instructed Unruh to consult with the planning and zoning board.
  • Vacated portions of Billings and Water Sts.
  • Cast a 4/1 vote with Mayfield, Susan Gray, Chris Costello, and Jerry Kline in favor and Herbel opposed, to purchase two crosswalk signs for Main St.
  • Agreed to liquidate surplus items from the police and public works departments.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2021

 

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