ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Marion Mayor Martin Tice said so many good things happened in the city in 2006 that it would be difficult to limit his list to a “top 10.”
But he did keep the list at 10 because if he allowed himself to add a No. 11, chances are he could list 20 things just as important.
Tice said he refrained from listing events in order of importance because everything on the list is important.
Following is Tice’s list of the 10 best things that happened in Marion in 2006 with the help of city government. Tice noted that Marion citizens have done well in recognizing the worth of making positive efforts-even if the efforts haven’t produced tangible results just yet. The support and voluntary efforts of citizens has been gratifying.
1 Passage of an $8 million school bond issue for a sports center/swimming pool complex. Tice said that the city’s help to pay for the project was a fundamental boost for the quality of life and potential economic growth potential for the town.
Tice said the city already is beginning to pay its share for the complex, now scheduled to be completed in April 2008, by donating the land for the location where the swimming pool has been, and by continuing to provide swimming.
2 The hiring of Economic Director Jami Williams. Tice said her appointment was a fundamental step that gave the city new energy regarding projects for its economic well being.
Among projects that were prompted by Williams, Tice said, were the “Bucks for Building” promotion, business grants, and the “spec” building in Batt Industrial Park.
3The expansion of existing businesses and start of new businesses in the industrial park and downtown.
Tice credited the growth to initiatives like those noted in the previous item, plus the forward-moving attitudes of the community. He said “anybody could notice this” and declined to list the affected the businesses for fear of leaving some out.
“There are many of them,” he said.
4Delivery of a $100,000-plus fire truck with enhanced capabilities, and the purchase of a thermal-imaging camera with community donations. Tice said those two acquisitions were “big steps” in Marion’s ability to save human life. He agreed with the saying, “What price can be put on saving a human life?”
5Developing the city building into an emergency center, including the acquisition of a generator that could be used to provide power for the building.
Tice said said he considered that development as one more way the city improved its capabilitiy to save human life.
6New utility developments. Tice said improvements made in 2006 will benefit the city for decades to come. His list included upgrades by the city crew to the electrical system and water plant. The latter was required to meet Kansas Department of Health and Environment regulations.
Tice said even though the city had to comply with KDHE regulations, the upgrade program went beyond minimum demands. When the project is completed, Tice said the water plant will be better able to meet the demands of the future, for instance by installing ozone treatment.
7Transition of city government from a three-member commission to a city council structure with four members and a mayor.
Tice said the change has given citizens more access to members of city government. It also has provided government with more exposure to a wider variety of ideas.
8Software upgrades at city offices. Tice listed the upgrade as a major accomplishment because it has reduced the number of personnel needed, therefore reducing costs, while improving the level of service provided.
9Progress on a new walking and biking trail. Tice said the project will add recreational benefits for citizens.
The new trail, which eventually will circumvent the town, was opened in 2006 from the library to the dike by voluntary labor.
Volunteers also spearheaded a clean-up day. Picking up trash brought the trail from acceptable levels from the transfer station to the dike, he said.
10A new, positive mood in the community. Tice said his final item puts a wrap on the positive developments included in the first nine things he listed.
“I see a new positive general attitude,” he said. “It’s illustrated by the (new hospital) auxillary and donation efforts raising money to buy a used van for the living center.
“There are many voluntary efforts and donations made,” he added. “The community is up at a time when it’s needed a lot.”