ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The Marion City Council unanimously approved at its Dec. 18 meeting a plan presented by Casey Case for development of abandoned railway within the city limits for a biking and hiking trail.
Case said said most labor along the trail would be done by volunteers. Occasionally, the city might be asked for help with city equipment.
He said he has located quarry screenings that can be hauled in to improve the trail for 50 cents a ton.
Since Case also is the city’s insurance agent, he was able to assure the council the city would be able to assume the role as official custodian of the trail with negligible additional cost.
City Attorney Dan Baldwin assured the council the trail promoters have legal right to use the trail with true ownership going back to the railroads at any time they might choose to reopen train service.
Robin Dicks asked the council to reduce or eliminate the city’s $12 a month water fee for The Shepherd’s Shed to enable the ministry, which gives away donated clothing to people, to offer toilet facilities especially for small children who accompany families there.
Dicks said she operates the ministry for free, and that even $12 seems excessive when no money is made, “considering how little it would be used.
“My goal is to stay there long term.”
She said the ministerial alliance pays the electric bill, and has been able to lower the trash assessment from the business charge to a residential level. Dicks said she hopes to keep operating The Shepherd’s Shed long-term.
Councilir Gene Winkler said, “If we do this, it could open the door to other businesses that could come in here, and ask the same thing.”
Councilor Jerry Kline said, “I don’t think we can do it.”
The council denied her request.
Economic Development Director Jami Williams received approval from the Council for $1,000 in incentive money from the city toward closing costs of a new home for Tim and Heather Risinger done as a spec house by Victor Buckner.