Citizen investment group offers to help with Marion eco-devo

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Members of a newly formed economic development and investment group, formed last week at a meeting called by Greg Carlson, Marion grocer, asked the Marion City Commission Monday to be included in its planning.

Kevin Fruechting, officer with Tampa State Bank acting as spokesman for the group, said that while the group plans to help existing businesses, they especially want to help new businesses grow, “or at least survive.”

Fruechting said nearly all businesspersons are familiar with new persons, frequently with good ideas, who want to start new businesses, but who lack a “track record,” and frequently adequate financing.

What these new people usually do have, Fruechting said, is hope and enthusiasm that might be good for a town.

The new group, starting with eight members, is committed to helping this type of people in getting started.

Fruechting said they intend to keep meeting, and developing concrete plans. He didn’t want people to see the group as potential open-ended financial help for business, “but we do have people who are prepared to write checks.”

Fruechting said people like Carlson are good examples of businesspersons who want to offer assistance to others because if they want to retire 10 to 15 years from now, they need the Marion community viable enough for their own business to have worth. He said the group will be looking at what other communities have done.

In the meantime, Fruechting offered the group’s assistance in the search and screening process for a city economic development director. He said the group wants to work closely with whomever is hired.

City Administrator David Mayfield said he had been wanting some type of local screening committee to help in the search for an economic director.

Mayor Martin Tice commended the group, and asked that they talk to members of the city’s strategic planning group. Commissioner Jim Crofoot said he was excited by the potential of the group. Everyone commended Carlson for his initiative in getting it started.

Public Works Director Harvey Sanders said the electricity was off earlier in the day as efforts continue to fix failure of Western Resources equipment at a substation.

He said problems began Saturday night at a temporary substation, being used while the permanent substation was repaired, with a “ball of fire” and burnout of all groundwires to underground cables to the substation.

Sanders said the electricity would be off again at 1 a.m. Wednesday while power was turned back to the first substation, although “those plans aren’t set in concrete.”

Sanders said clearance was too close not to turn the electricity off for workers as a safety issue, “better the inconvenience than killing someone.”

Police Chief Michel Soyez said a series of vehicle burglaries in the past week all involved small thefts from unlocked vehicles. He encouraged everybody to lock cars when they are parked.

Mayfield said he will be attending a public relations and accounting workshop presented by Kansas Municipal Utilities Sept. 8-9 in Great Bend. Topics will include customer service, fraud, employment law and accounting.

The commissioners approved an electrical license for Joel Troyer doing business as Electricraft Inc.

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