Marion council to work with business owner to fix damages

The Marion City Council at its meeting Feb. 16 directed City Administrator Roger Holter to put together proposals regarding how a business owner and the city can work together on repairing an entrance and sidewalks.

Bernice Beach, HRK owner, wrote a letter to Terry Jones, economic development director, asking for assistance in upgrading certain exterior areas of her property.

In her letter, she stated she wanted ?assistance like it appeared (the city) was able to get for Ace Hardware, Subway, Auxiliary Shop and some other businesses.?

Beach stated she was aware the city has money available for sidewalk repair, but her property at 918 Main St. doesn?t have sidewalks.

?May I request your assistance in getting the curb area and entrances fixed by the city, and help in repairing the holes in the parking lot so we could have a driveway sealer put on after the repairs,? she wrote.

Unaware of how much something like this would cost, she stated she thinks it is important to have her store look good and ready to serve the public for years to come.

Holter said that each year the city sets aside $3,000 total for this.

?We do have concrete material in the budget, but it comes down to if the council through its actions supports economic development or do we do a portion of (the request),? he said.

Jones said he knows that she is not wanting to do just the exterior request.

?She isn?t calling it good there,? he said. ?She is also doing a lot inside her store to update it and make it more efficient with different inventory items, too.?

In addition, Jones said it would make his job a lot easier if businesses looking to come here knew the city supports its own.

Councilor Jerry Kline said he would like to see the city do something.

Holter said if the city were to assist in this process, it would put a standard curb down to the corner and have an entrance come off of Main Street.

?We would still need to work this out with Darin Neufeld (EBH Engineering) for the best way,? he said.

The council also discussed Subway and that for many years the city knew curbs needed replacing.

The Kansas Department of Transportation claimed that even though it was a highway, the state wouldn?t do anything or fund anything until the city did a project there.

?When the city did a street project, that is when the curb was replaced at Subway,? Holter said. ?We changed the traffic flow, and sidewalk and curb were city expense.?

The rest of the island that was concreted over was the owner?s responsibility, he added.

Holter said he would like to give the council a solid answer, but there isn?t one.

?We are dealing with right-of-way onto a state highway and that makes us responsible because we are the controlling entity,? he said.

Based on the concerns with Main and Eisenhower streets, Heitschmidt asked that the issue be tabled until the next meeting.

Another concern regarding the project is that if the city is going to do this major work, Heitschmidt said he thinks the sidewalks need to fixed on all sides of the property.

Both east and west and north and south should be fixed to connect the sidewalks, he said.

?I would also like to see the amount of financial support (Beach) can put toward the project as well,? he said.

While Heitschmidt said he doesn?t disagree that this needs to be done, he also said the connecting links have always been challenging about whose is what.

?I am more concerned about Pandora?s box being opened and how much we do, which is why I am wanting to see (a plan),? he said.

Holter said he there are also drainage issues because of how water flows down Roosevelt and pools in a corner.

?Let?s look at who is paying for what and whose responsibility is what,? Heitschmidt added. ?If we are going to help in some way, even if it?s donating some cold patch.

?We still want to see what the business? investment is going to be.?

Holter said the city would put together at least two or three variations of the proposal and then allow the council to make a decision.

In other business, the council:

? heard a report from Heitschmidt about attending the League of Municipalities City Hall Day.

? designated Feb. 21-28 as Future Farmers of America week in Marion.

? approved a resolution establishing the city as an entry to the 2015 Kansas Pride program.

? discussed Socrata Financial Data transparency apps, which enable government organizations to make financial information easier to access and understandable to citizens, staff, councilors, business owners, media and other stakeholders.

The next council meeting will be at 4:30 p.m. March 2 in council chambers.

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