Marion OKs water-plant funding plan

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
by

The Free Press

The Marion City Commission Monday agreed to water-plant-upgrade funding that “ties up” $1.34 million in 40-year loan 4.25 percent bond money and $500,000 in grant money from Rural Development.

Dale Yager of Rural Development said the agreement leaves the city free to discontinue the project if it wants to, but it sets the program in motion for work to begin when the funds are available.

The financing to serve 1,008 Marion water customers will require that the city acquire proper bond counsel, legal counsel, go through a bid process, and go through an audit at the end.

Gene Winkler reported for the Marion Advancement Campaign that $50,000 has been raised from a $200,000 campaign that includes selling seats to be in a new movie theater to patrons for $500 each.

Forty of 200 seats have been sold in both the larger and smaller theaters of the complex.

The patrons get free popcorn the first year, their name on a plaque on the chair and participation in promotions when the theater on the east side of town opens.

If you don’t have the $500 ready, Winkler said MAC is offering patrons the option of making up to quarterly payments to come up with a donation.

MAC also is looking for the single big donor who might give as much as $50,000, perhaps as part of an estate or “whatever.”

The movie theater project will cost an estimated $900,000 or more with half to come from state grant money to help establish such facilities in small communities.

Winkler said raising $200,000 outside the grant process will help MAC save an estimated $45,000 in administrative and architectural fees.

Winkler said newspaper articles about the theater have helped generate contributions.

He said there have been comments that perhaps MAC should have built something like an indoor swimming pool first. But Winkler said the group believes the theater not only will pay for itself, but then help to build other projects as time goes on.

The state grant will be a maximum of $400,000, Winkler said. MAC plans that all-volunteer labor actually will put up the facility with sweat-equity value of $200,000 for matching grant funds.

Marty Fredrickson, building inspector and street superintendent, said the owner of property at 201 N. Freeborn has agreed to a timeline to make improvements to avoid building condemnation.

Public Works Director Harvey Sanders said work has begun on getting the swimming pool ready to open for summer.

Commissioner Larry McLain said he thought it was important for Marion law enforcement personnel and others to take time to honor two Harvey County officers, one of whom was killed and the other whom was injured in an incident last weekend.

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