Marion to host joint meeting on WRAPS funds

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The city councils of Marion, Hillsboro and Peabody will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, in a joint workshop meeting to consider local grant share for upgrading Marion Reservoir, it was announced Monday at the Marion City Council meeting.

Marion City Administrator David Mayfield said that since it is a workshop for the cities, the public will be allowed to attend but not to speak unless asked to by a member of city government.

The meeting will be jointly chaired by the three mayors.

Mayfield said the WRAPS grant to study best sedimentation control at Marion Reservoir will demand a $75,000 local share. The Marion County Commission has decided to pay half of the $75,000, and it asked Marion and Hillsboro to pay the other half.

Mayfield said Peabody has been asked to participate in the workshop because it also uses reservoir water processed through Hillsboro. Mayfield added that he doesn’t know if that city might end up sharing part of the cost.

County Commissioner Dan Holub came to the meeting to ask about room that might be available in Batt Industrial Park for a contemplated county corrections center. The acreage needed will depend on whether the center is the full county-jail facility desired or smaller, and on whether it also includes court facilities, county attorney’s office, sheriff’s office and communications center, he said.

Holub estimated the needed could be for 5.5 acres.

Mayfield said a five-acre plot on the west end could meet the county’s need, but that the city should retain the east end of the 40-acre plot for “regular industrial development.”

Councilors asked if Holub would like any particular vote of support for the facility, but he said he came just to see what was available.

Former Mayor Max Hayen said that if his memory was correct, the city had paid $1,800 an acre for 53 acres at the park.

The council had a written cat registration ordinance on its agenda, but Mayor Martin Tice moved to kill it by not bringing it up. Councilors Gene Winkler and Jerry Kline joined him to douse the question, but councilors Bill Holderman and Stacey Collett voted against to make it 3-2.

Margo Yates, speaking for the Marion Recreation Commission, said MRC had a successful year with 25 baseball and softball teams, and acting as host for a league of 20 basketball teams.

She said the concessions stand run by the Rec’s booster club had raised several thousand dollars to help boost the organization’s activities.

Yates credited Molly Rhodes with running an excellent swimming program, and “ditto for summer theater production” by Kathy Whittaker and her family.

Winkler reported for the Marion Advancement Campaign that a reduction in available grant size had led to a downgrading of the effort to get a movie theater built, but that construction of a community center is on target if only a few more donors come in.

After a discussion, the council dropped the idea to move Police Chief Mike Soyez’s office back into the police station, because of lack of room.

When asked if a county corrections center could include office space for Marion police, Holub said it would be a strong possibility.

Tice signed a declaration naming Marion as “Rhino Capital of Kansas” with more than 100 decorated concrete rhinos in town, “unequalled in Kansas or the United States as fearless and hard charging.”

Kline volunteered to represent the council at a preconstruction conference with engineers and contractors Aug. 21 for upgrade of the Marion water plant.

Street Commissioner Marty Fredrickson said he will be looking at buying a new trash truck before new federal emission standards next year raise the price of trucks by $7,000 to $10,000 each.

Economic Development Director Jami Williams said David Leith has been the first recipient of business grant money from the City of Marion to put up a privacy fence around his property at half the cost to screen it from a residential area.

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