Harris son asks leaders to reconsider renaming streets

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Jeff Harris asked consideration for his father, Jerry Harris, from the Marion City Commission Monday in the renaming of streets in the retail industrial park.

Jerry Harris, former mayor and community leader, founded the park as a private businessman and named the streets for family members. The park is still legally part of the Harris Heights Addition to Marion.

Jeff Harris, who lives in Salina, said: “This isn’t an issue I’m here to beat up on anybody or harrass anybody about. I don’t have any problem about a street not being named after myself. What concerned me is that nobody bothered to notify or ask my dad how he felt about it.

“My dad worked hard, hard for this community, making the city a better place while he was here-sometimes at the cost of not spending time with his own family.

“It hurt my dad pretty deeply that nobody talked to him. I’m asking if there is any possibility of doing something of a permanent type out in that area to keep the Harris name in the community for my father? I’m not asking for anyone to wear egg on their face or change the names back.”

In response to a statement that Harris originally platted the park for manufactured housing that better suited the family names, Jeff Harris said his father always intended the retail park but listed it for homes because of tax advantages.

“You can’t take away what he did for the community.”

Commissioner Jim Crofoot said Harris Heights is a permanent name and honor and there’s no intent to change it.

Mayor Eloise Mueller said the commission would consider whether there would be any other steps to honor Harris.

One suggestion from onlookers was that the park be called Harris Industrial Park in keeping with Batt Industrial Park for the heavy industrial park across the highway.

In noting that several persons were at the meeting interested in resolution of a vicious dog ordinance, City Administrator David Mayfield said that the ordinance would not be ready and on the agenda until next week’s meeting.

City Attorney Dan Baldwin said the ordinance is nearly complete, and interested parties who want to read it can come to him.

Skip Sieger, representing the Marion Airport Authority, asked about the status of a grant for renovating surfaces at the airport.

Mayfield said the city has the grant, and it will be available for use from this July to July 2004, with a likelihood that it will be a spring 2004 project. He advised Sieger to get with Public Works Director Harvey Sanders for specific jobs in the project.

Michele Hett reported for the Chamber of Commerce that the group has decided on one booth for the state fair, but at the recent Kansas Sampler Festival also had a second artist’s booth for Gerald Wiens, Marion wildlife photographer.

Hett and Margo Yates said the number of tour buses planned to come through Marion is up, with recent visitations from Cheney and Topeka.

Police Chief Michel Soyez asked that his department be permitted to seek a 25 percent matching grant of $25,000 through the U.S. Department of Justice that will apply to officers’ overtime and training for homeland security, plus prevention of drug and violent crimes.

The commissioners approved his request 3-0.

Sanders said the city crew is completing picking up items from cleanup week plus working on the swimming pool and baseball fields for summer recreation.

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