Marion PRIDE group taking first steps toward city plan



Marion?s PRIDE, which was formed about six months ago, identified the direction the community wanted it to take using a survey and now the group is developing a plan.

Pam Bowers, president, said the results of a survey taken in July indicated that the majority of people wanted to see the downtown area improved and also the entrances into town.

?Another thing that was brought to our attention was that we have too many logos,? she said.

Those included, ?City Between Two Lakes,? ?We Are the Best Place We?ve Seen,? and ?Rhino Capital of the World.?

The suggestion, she said, was that we choose one and use that signage into town.

Some of the projects the PRIDE group has been involved with included the Farmers Market, providing the paint to have someone cover empty business windows with cedar trees and ?Blooming with Pride? signs to acknowledge yards in Marion.

?Everybody loved the signs,? she said, ?and others have asked us how they could get one in their yard.?

As for the Farmers Market, Bowers said she admits the hot summer months were tough on fresh produce, but was still a big success.

?Probably the biggest success (of the market) was the vendors who came every week and provided supper,? she said. ?We already have someone asking about next year.?

The market was also successful, she said, because it didn?t conflict with other markets in the county.

?Hillsboro, Florence, Peabody and Marion held markets on different days of the week.?

One new project that PRIDE?is considering will be more involved.

?Right now I am very excited about a new long-range project to help families work their way out of poverty,? she said.

Because the PRIDE?group generally meets on Monday, which is the same day as the project they could consider, the PRIDE?meetings could be moved to another day so that members could attend both.

The other members have not decided yet whether this will be one of the projects, but it?s a possibility, Bowers added.

Community support

?The community has been real supportive about the PRIDE group,? she said, ?and in small towns we all work toward similar goals so sometimes the projects overlap.?

One example, Bowers said, is that if Margo Yates, director of the Chamber of Commerce, needs help or is shorthanded on something she is doing, we can help if necessary

During the winter months, PRIDE is not involved in a lot of projects, she said, but they are working on a wish list.

?We are spending the winter thinking about what we want on our grant for the downtown area,? she said.

One project that the group is taking a look at is the parking lot across from Websters and how it could be landscaped or changed.

In order to this project, though, the owner would have to deed the property over, but a PRIDE member has already asked and the owner agreed he would, she said.

As a PRIDE?group, Bowers said, they can include almost anything in their plans.

Some cities, she said, are drilling new water wells in their towns, while other communities look at helping their whole city prosper.

?If we don?t get a lot of grant money, we will look at smaller projects,? she said.

Survey results

Pam Bowers and Margaret Wilson spoke at a Marion City Council meeting in late August about the results of the recent PRIDE Committee Survey.

Bowers provided a summary of the survey?s findings and opinions regarding city parks and recreation, including the ball diamonds and athletic areas, entrances to the city, property improvement for both business and residential and downtown revitalization.

General results about parks and recreation, she said, were overwhelmingly positive for Marion?s parks, recreational opportunities, ball diamonds and athletic areas.

?Parks were described as wonderful and the sports? complex was listed as awesome,? she stated.

Some suggestions listed included refurbishing the tennis and basketball courts, improving bike trails, adding more flowers, repainting foundation basins in the park, painting light poles, and fixing water fountains at the sports complex.

Other improvements stated from the survey were providing more shade and painting the picnic tables.

?The most frequent area cited for improvement was Brooker Park?s bathroom facilities,? survey results stated.

Bowers and Wilson noted that many of the suggestions could be completed without a large amount of money, but rather involvement by concerned citizens.

?It was suggested on one survey that a volunteer group, ?The Soil Brothers and Sisters? form to assist the city in keeping public areas better maintained.

Entrances to Marion

According to survey responses, the council learned that a majority of answers about entrances to Marion were described as ?a disaster, terrible, awful, junk, ugly or all bad.?

Complaints outweighed the compliments about the pride of ownership to include shady streets, well-kept yards and pleasant homes.

Another response, brought to the council?s attention was: ?Remember the old bridge which spanned the Cottonwood coming in from the west?Can the arch be recreated??

Bowers said that many others state they felt the need for more bold signage directing visitors into Marion, especially entering on North Cedar.


Survey results also indicated that many recognized the charm of the 1870s Main Street.

?It was described as ?historic? again and again,? the committee noted in the report.

Other words and phrases used to describe the downtown area included ?cute, quaint, accessible, friendly merchants and our library is awesome.?

The committee will continue compiling responses from about 100 surveys received, Bowers told the council.

The other members of Marion PRIDE?include Margaret Wilson, secretary; Sally Hannaford, treasurer; and members Jeanice Thomas, Karen Regnier, Shana Thornhill and Jackie Volbrecht.

?We would love to have more people in PRIDE,? she said, ?and I think everybody has their priorities so it?s nice to hear what others think is important.?

For more information about PRIDE, call Bowers at 620-382-0495.

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