Housing project value estimated at $14,000 to city

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The net financial benefit of the new assisted-living development to be built in Marion was pegged at more than $14,000-even considering 10 years of property tax abatement.

That was only one figure handed to commissioners in a report from Sarah Steele, Wichita attorney working on the bonds, during the public hearing Monday held prior to the city commission meeting to consider city bond issuance for the project.

The only question from the public came from Bud Hannaford who wondered if after the 10 years the facility could ask for another 10 years of abatement only to be answered by the commissioners that “no, this is a one-time deal.”

Bud Pierce, a former commissioner, said he hoped the project would proceed as fast as possible.

Bob Brooks, developer for the facility that will be north of the school bus barn, said he has “been impressed with the need here for assisted living considering the number of older people who move elsewhere from Marion because there is no such facility here.”

Pierce said that is true of all parts of the county with people who might prefer to move to Marion instead of an out-of-county city.

The initial development will include 18 units, Brooks said, with future expansion projected to 25 units.

He noted that an assisted-living facility serves the needs “between nursing home and totally independent living” for people who only need a little extra help to maintain some independence in daily life.

Brooks said help could come in the form of three meals a day, medical monitoring, bathing, toileting or other forms of assistance a person might need.

Mayor Eloise Mueller said she and Susan Cooper, development director, have visited an assisted-living facility developed by Brooks in Hays that is similar to the one planned here, and they liked it very much.

“We have people here who have been waiting for something like this,” she said.

Brooks said the facility in Hays also was built with city-issued bonds.

In the regular commission meeting following the hearing, John Brose, reporting for the Marion Parks Board, said the board has been searching for a large metal urn to replace a 100-year-old urn in Central Park that has disappeared.

Brose said an unknown person also is taking water lilies to the spring development in the park to overwinter, and then removing them.

“In light of the landscaping money paid for the development,” Brose said, “we don’t know for sure what goes in the spring, and what comes out. But we want it stopped.”

The commissioners approved a second hearing in two weeks to consider ad valorem tax exemption on new equipment for Marion Die and Fixture.

Cooper said the first hearing normally might have been sufficient, but the state had additional questions on the exemption, and to make sure everything is completed satisfactorily, she recommended a second hearing.

Marty Fredrickson, street superintendent, reported the city is continuing to spray for mosquitoes, and putting pesticide brickettes in standing water to kill mosquito larvae.

Janet Marler, librarian, said the library held tours for approximately 80 out-of-town visitors on Old Settlers Day.

In consideration of Marler’s report, Brose asked if the city didn’t plan to ask Cooperative Grain to move merchandise and equipment adjacent to the library grounds that he thought made it appear more unsightly.

Mueller said, “We’ll take a look at it, John. Maybe we could require them to build a fence.”

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