Citizen’s group proposes skateboard course in Marion

The Marion City Commission Monday gave a citizens’ group permission to install a skateboard course for a 60-day trial period on the basketball court at East Park.

In competitive bidding for deposit of bond money received for industrial park development, with Marion National Bank and Central National Bank bidding, the Commission awarded the business to Central National Bank with $1.114 million going into an investment account and $160,000 into CDs.

The skateboard course would be put together from equipment owned and put together by a group of youths represented at the meeting by Jeff Moody, Jeremiah Johnson, Daniel King, John Colier and Jack Branson.

Roger Schwab, high school shop teacher, agreed to oversee the youths in building and maintaining equipment, and to check equipment soundness.

Adult supporters, including Margo Yates, Sharon Hubbard and John Brose, felt the trial would work on the East Park basketball court because the installation of adjustable goals at Central Park and the grade school has moved most summer basketball to those locations.

Yates said an area to the south of the court is about the same size if the city wanted to pour a new slab after the trial.

City Attorney Dan Baldwin said current Kansas law protects the city from liability lawsuits on such recreation developments as long as it can be demonstrated the city did proper safety precautions.

Commissioners Larry Reiswig and Jim Crofoot wanted to make sure a city employee would inspect equipment as well as Schwab, and Crofoot wanted participants to stay off the tennis court.

Mayor Eloise Mueller said fencing at the location would need to be checked for breaks to make sure skate boarders weren’t cut.

Police Chief David Mayfield said his force favors the skateboard development to help youth, and they feel any problem with vandalism can be kept in check with the current midnight to 5 a.m. park curfew.

City Administrator Dennis Nichols said he and Street Superintendent Marty Fredrickson had reviewed consulting engineer plans for the business industrial park to determine that sufficient drainage existed to allow three-foot gravel shoulders and ditches on streets instead of curbs and storm sewers to save bond money.

He said it is proposed that 30-foot wide streets with six-inch overlay, either asphalt or concrete depending on bids, be installed that can accommodate semi-truck traffic. He expected bids to be let within the next two weeks with contractors provided two weeks in which to submit bids.

Development Director Susan Cooper said new projections on the industrial park turn lane completion are for mid to late September in time for opening of Seacat Hardware there in October.

She reminded the commissioners that a meeting of an investors group open to any investor interested for construction of an assisted living facility in Marion has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. July 12 in the city building basement. This is different from a future meeting that will be held for persons interested in living there, she said.

Nichols said he is working to make cuts in the 2002 budget to keep it within projected revenue in time for the commissioners to review it July 23.

Fredrickson said city utilities are operating at higher outputs as electrical and water demands increase because of the hot weather. He said water production is at 350,000 to 360,000 gallons per day on a 12-hour work shift.

July 2 meeting

Chingawassa Days was so much better attended this year that supporters are even considering the possibility of a permanent stage for Central Park, the Marion City Commission was told at its July 2 meeting.

Mike Powers, representing the Chingawassa Days committee, reported high numbers for events sponsored by the three banks in town as well as for the concerts Saturday.

Powers said the Marion National barbecue served 950 meals, the Tampa State bed race appeared to have record attendance, and the Central State watermelon feed handed out 800 slices.

He credited a sheepdog demonstration and inflatable carnival attractions such as a rock-climbing wall for young people for greatly adding to afternoon crowds.

Powers said concert crowds increased throughout the evening, beginning with 350 to 450 persons to hear Dark Horse, progressing with more to hear Pawnee Rock, and an estimated 2,000 to hear Three Dog Night.

“We came out on the entire event in the black for $3,800, perhaps close to $4,000 when the figuring’s over,” he said.

The concert stage cost the committee $6,500 this year, Powers said. He noted that with the cost remaining fairly consistent from year to year, over three years the stage would have cost more than $18,000. This has people discussing that money going for a permanent structure instead, he said, perhaps built into the hill coming down from the high school and north of the spring.

Powers said David Hett, owner of Hett Construction, has been developing some preliminary plans for a stage: “$50,000 may do it.”

He presented the City of Marion and Marty Fredrickson, city street superintendent, with separate Rhino awards in recognition of help provided for the event. He explained that the “Rhino” has become a tradition in memory of Pete Peterson, who helped in the creation of Chingawassa Days and was a collector of rhinoceros memorabilia.

Commissioner Jim Crofoot said the entire community owes thanks to Fredrickson and “his troops,” the crew members who work with him, because they went far beyond what their jobs demand to work for the event.

Mayor Eloise Mueller noted there is a debate every year as to how much money to spend advertising Chingawassa Days, how much is just for Marion people, how much should be spent to attract out-of-town people, and how much money it brings into the community.

Commissioner Larry Reiswig said, “There is some money spent here, but not a lot of direct benefit to the city. But the indirect benefits for us are fabulous, just fabulous. It works to bring attention to the town and its industrial park.”

Powers said people working for Chingawassa Days realize that it and Old Settlers Day are “quality of life” benefits that help Marion in its quest for industry just as “a good water plant, good fire department and good police force help.”

Susan Cooper, development director, said a meeting of investors interested in bringing a new assisted-living development to Marion has been changed from July 11 to July 12.

She said an application for putting a turn lane into the industrial parks from U.S. Highway 56 has been approved by the Kansas Dept. of Transportation locally, and sent to Salina, after which it will go to Topeka for final approval. She said no problem is anticipated, just more time in completing the process.

Harvey Sanders, utilities superintendent, said water plant workers have been working longer hours pumping a half-million gallons daily because of the hot, dry weather, and running three full shifts has been considered.

Fredrickson said the city transported 121.5 tons of trash to KC Development’s transfer station last month compared with 100 to 105 tons for the same month last year.

City Manager Dennis Nichols reported a five-foot deep pond and a four-foot deep pond have been dug out for the spring development in the park with “a lot of sloppy mud” hauled out. He said he has also received final notification of sale of historic bridge stones to the city from the county for use at the spring.

Nichols reported that engineering at the industrial park and excavation that has uncovered a rocky area for a sewer lift station there are both proceeding satisfactorily.

He also reported that a walk-through inspection of the air conditioning work in the auditorium verified that it met specifications.

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