Commissioners share advice for making impact at home

The Marion City Commission Monday reviewed a change in plans about who will plan the Brooker Memorial renovation of the historic spring in the city park.

The commissioners also listened to Police Chief David Mayfield outline the updated standard operating procedure for tornado emergencies in Marion, and approved it.

City Administrator Dennis Nichols said the original architect for Brooker Memorial, who had been donating his services to the city, has agreed to withdraw from the project because other commitments have monopolized his time.

Nichols said he has been working with Mark Moore of Scenic Landscapes in Wichita, an award-winning landscape designer specializing in water gardens. Moore would develop a more naturalized spring setting than the design formerly being considered, he said.

Nichols believed the project could be concluded in time for Old Settlers Day because Moore would be able to begin work within six weeks if the commission approves the plan he develops. Moore’s company would build the spring memorial with assistance from the city crew to keep costs down, he said.

Nichols said in a meeting with himself, Mayor Eloise Mueller and Utilities Superintendent Harvey Sanders, Moore outlined his ideas.

Nichols said, “He discussed the use of a large natural pond at the base of the spring with a stream running approximately 100 feet to the end of the stone wall.

“The stream would then flow into a catch pond, and the water would be recycled to the mouth of the spring. Consideration of incorporating a waterfall into the design as well as an access trail from the school parking lot to Central Park were also discussed.”

Nichols said it had been suggested that the project might be able to use stones from a historic stone arch bridge west of town that was torn down.

Mayfield, in cooperation with other city department heads, developed criteria for activating tornado warnings in the city, and the designation and activation of a disaster emergency center in the event of destruction.

He said the tornado-warning sustained blast for at least five minutes will be sounded by an officer at the police department any time the city is included in a warning area or when emergency personnel report a funnel. The all-clear after notification from the National Weather Service is a one-minute blast.

Police or fire department personnel will further warn citizens by sounding vehicle sirens throughout town, which also is a safeguard against power failure, he said.

Mayfield said special notification by telephone or person by police will be given at Bown-Corby, the VFW Post, Senior Citizens Center, St. Luke Hospital, Marion Manor Nursing Home, Hilltop Manor, September Apartments I and II, and any other building where people are congregated.

He said designated public shelter buildings, which all police officers have keys to, are the Marion City Building, the U.S. Post Office, Marion County Courthouse, Eastmoor Methodist Church and Emanual Baptist Church.

If disaster struck, Mayfield said an emergency operations center would be headquartered at the police and fire departments with a chain of command beginning with the mayor, then the chief of police, the police sergeant, and the duty police officer.

The backup center would be in the Marion County Courthouse basement.

In other business, Susan Cooper, development director, said she is hoping to bring in John Riggs of the firm of Earles and Riggs at Lindsborg to act as consultant for community planning.

She and Nichols said Riggs has specialized in helping small communities, and the results of his work can be seen at towns like Ulysses, Hesston and La Junta, Colo.

Cooper said the next city planning meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, May 21.

Sanders said the city electric crew has been getting the power system ready for higher usage this summer. They also have been expanding the new higher voltage lines to Marion Tool and Die.

Marty Fredrickson, street superintendent, said students from the high school working on their annual community service had done a “fine job” in helping clean up the city.

Commissioner Larry Reiswig suggested the city workers assist downtown businesses by helping spray for vegetation growing on sidewalks.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to approve warrants for $29,744.21.

The commissioners held a 20-minute executive session with City Attorney Dan Baldwin to discuss acquisition of property. No decision was made.

The commissioners adjourned with a trip to look at development on the road to Country Club Heights.

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