Weak market for upscale homes,agent tells MEDI, Mayor talks water

News editor

Real estate agent Lori Heerey told Marion Economic Development Inc. on Tuesday that homes priced at $150,000 or more aren’t selling well in town right now, and that there is a lot of demand for rental houses.

Heerey said the demand for higher-end homes is not there because of tax bills. Houses between $75,000 and $125,000 sell the best, she said.

She said she has 30 homes listed just in Marion over a wide range of prices. Many are available because of senior citizens moving out of their homes and into apartments or assisted living.

“I don’t feel like we have a lot of people just running out of town,” she said.

Heerey said she expects sales to pick up now that the school year is essentially over and the summer moving season is ready to begin.

In other business:

  • Todd Heitschmidt reported that Ace Hardware opened at 8 a.m. Monday and had its first customer at 8:01 a.m.
  • Heitschmidt said CiboTech is ahead of schedule in picking up clients for its food forensics lab services.
  • Heitschmidt and Mike Powers reported on fundraising for new bathrooms in Central Park. Between donations and pledges, Marion Advancement Campaign has about half of the estimated $100,000 cost. If goals are met, construction will be in spring 2015.
  • Jones said he was approached by someone interested in opening a business in Marion or Florence. He showed them several possible buildings to locate in.

Mayor’s priority: water infrastructure

While speaking about planning the 2015 Marion city budget, Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said he is frustrated by continued rusty water when the city’s water plant itself is as high quality as it is. He said he wants to focus on improving infrastructure to get water to residents in as good a condition as it leaves the water plant.

The city already has about $450,000 tied up in annual bond payments and other obligations. The city has a survey on its website, asking residents what they think the city’s budget priorities should be.

Heitschmidt said the city council would review plans for new park bathrooms at the first June meeting. The project has $30,000 to $35,000 in the bank with another $20,000 pledged. Heitschmidt estimated at least $50,000 more in donations would be needed to start construction in spring 2015.

City administrator Roger Holter, in response to a question about a proposed roundabout, said, “At this point it’s a pipe dream.”

Holter also said there is no budget to repaint the Liberty Park mural. The city hopes to find volunteers to repaint it, as a professional estimate was $4,500.

Amy Kjellin, director of Butler Community College of Marion, emphasized that whether the college moves out of the Bown-Corby Building, it will continue to offer classes and have offices in Marion.

Margaret Wilson said Marion Pride is working to reorganize a farmers market in town.

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