Marion to host regional Cal Ripken tournament in 2008

Casey Case made the official announcement Monday at the Marion City Council meeting that Marion will host the annual Cal Ripken Baseball tournament for boys ages 12-15 July 25-29, 2008.

The tournament is for the first-place state champions from several Midwestern states.

Case said this tournament and other activities hosted at Marion will have a strong effect on business for motels and bed and breakfast businesses in both Marion and Hillsboro.

Although the Cal Ripken boys will stay at resident homes, families and coaches will need to be housed, he said.

Street Superintendent Marty Fredrickson already is upgrading the baseball fields with such activities as removing excess shale and rock, and preparing for grass.

Fredrickson said he would prefer grass sod to establish the grass, but probably will have to go for a less expensive option of hauling in soil to plant fescue grass.

Fredrickson said businesses and individuals are contacting him to see if the removed rock can be purchased.

Councilor Jerry Kline, who also is administrator for the Martin-Marietta Rock Quarry, advised that the city keep the rock for its own uses since he guessed it would have a value of around $25 a ton.

Ralph Kreutziger reported for Hett Construction Co. that the metal building materials arrived Friday for the Cardie Oil building at the industrial park, two weeks earlier than expected. But erection of the building will still not be for two weeks, he said, because the building erection contractor will be busy that long on another project in Hesston.

Kreutziger said Hett Con?struc?tion has completed the concrete floor, and that water and sewer lines are installed.

The council voted to pay Hett $67,915 for work completed to date.

Kevin Steele told the council that he has purchased 1.8 acres on the western edge of Marion at 548 W. Santa Fe, the former Holt family property, for parking his semi-truck and trailer. He also obtained signatures from his only three neighbors approving the parking.

But, Steele said, he also received a traffic ticket from Marion police for pulling his rig into the property to see about adequacy of turn-around space, and where trees might have to be removed.

Steele asked the council for city approval of parking the truck there, and possible revoking of the parking ticket. He said the parking would be only for his own semi, and he would not be hosting equipment owned by others. He is home weekends, he said, and that is when the parking would be needed.

Steele said he would like to eventually build a 30-by-60-foot building to house the truck and trailer, and he would like to add a shop building.

Councilor Stacey Collett said dimensions of Steele?s building probably would have to change to meet zoning rules.

Steele said that would be no problem even if he had to park truck and trailer side by side.

City Attorney Dan Baldwin advised the council that a simple revoking of a current ordinance rather than a zoning change would be all that would be required for Steele. He further advised the council to delay two weeks on a decision to think through ramifications.

Baldwin also advised delay on settling neighbor complaints on a residence at 321 S. First, where Sherry Hess said her family is remodeling to make a residence for her daughter.

Baldwin said Fredrickson, acting as building inspector, should look at the residence again to see if reported improvements have brought it up to code.

Hess said new plumbing, heating and cooling have been installed. A gap in skirting where neighbors complained raccoons had been going in is only left temporarily to allow workmen access underneath, she said.

Mayor Mary Olson assured Hess she could come back or wait for a letter of notice on decisions made.

Roger Schwab reported for the planning commission that a hearing for the new city plan will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 29.

Fire Chief Mike Regnier said September to date has been ?very quiet? for fires, but actively involved in events such as Labor Day activities at Marion County Lake and planning for Old Settlers Day.

Firemen will also sponsor a drawing for a bicycle at the October Marion-Hillsboro football game to help with funding for both departments.

The council agreed to spend $200 for a city team to play in a benefit golf tournament to help fund the Central Park Improve?ment Committee efforts.

The council voted 5-0 to have a public hearing Oct. 8 for public commentary on the state-funded Community Development Building Grant.

The council also voted 5-0 to approve Mayor Mary Olson?s recommendation of Todd Heitschmidt as a new appointment to the Marion County Economic Development Advisory Board.

The council approved spending about $5,000 for a single audit contract that Clerk Angela Lange said is required when more than $500,000 in federal funding is spent, as was done in the water plant upgrade.

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