Dollar General looking to open a store in Marion

The Marion City Council learned at its Dec. 8 meeting that a national retailer is interested in building at the Batt Industrial Park.

According to Terry Jones, the city?s economic development director, the retail store is Dollar General, which would locate off U.S. Highway 56 on a corner lot.

?The agreement is straightforward and the timeline is 120 days (more, if necessary) for survey, environmental audit and site inspection on the land,? Jones said.

City Administrator Roger Holter said the city has been working with this retailer for more than a year.

?Now it?s been turned over to a development group (Petrous Group in Tulsa, Okla.), which will handle all the property acquisition and engineering,? Holter said.

The impact of having Dollar General in Marion?s industrial park would mean taxable sales of more than $1 million, Jones said.

?It could be more in the range of $1.5 or $1.6 million,? he added.

The utility demand would be moderate, and the store would employ six to 10 people.

Jones explained that Dollar General officials do have some specific requests regarding certain businesses on adjacent lots.

Holter said the development group also had restrictions and he wanted to make sure the council would be ?comfortable? with those.

?In essence, we will no longer pursue recruitment efforts for a Family Dollar Store, Bill?s Dollar Store, Fred?s, Dollar Tree, Ninety-Nine Cents Only, Big Lots, Walgreens CVS and any Wal-Mart concept,? he said.

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said the city could still contact these businesses for downtown development, but it would slow down a calling campaign until the specific details were concluded on this project.

Based on the incentive scale dealing with number of employees, taxable sales and other factors, the free lot would cost a $1 fee and free tap on water, sewer and electric.

Holter said electricity would be supplied by the city and not Rural Electric Administration.

?We would need to set three more (electric) poles and put an additional transformer in,? he said. ?The cost would be between $4,000 and $6,000 to fulfill the requirements of utilities on site.?

Council members inquired about entrances and other site development plans, but Holter said these details still need to be worked out.

?Our zoning regulations state 36 to 38 parking places, but (Dollar General?s) typical model is 31,? he said. ?We also still have the concern with runoff and worked with their contractors.

?(The city) is already working with our engineers, and our engineers are digging test holes tomorrow, but part of this development they will be doing.?

With this development, Holter said the city could accomplish the creation of an aesthetic pond, as well as a runoff pond, to facilitate the developers.

?It would also enhance for the future to be in marketing the surrounding lots for whatever type of retail,? he said.

Holter said the city still has two phases not yet developed ?We are proposing that along the highway it will create a shopping environment for citizens in town not wanting to cross (U.S. Highway 56),? he said.

The agreement also stated other restrictions, but Jones said those were negotiable.

Some restrictions included massage parlors, Bingo parlors, discotheques, dance halls or night clubs.

Jones said that according to timelines, the development group could present a proposal to Dollar General officials Jan. 14 with a signed agreement completed as early as Jan. 15.

?Within a month or two they could be breaking ground,? he said. ?The highway frontage is a big motivator there.?

Other business

In other business, the council:

? will consider approving utility rate increases on residential base electrical rates from $4 to $12 and commercial to $16, along with a 1.6 cent increase in kilowatt hour.

? could increase water base rates from $4 to $30 for the first thousand gallons and an increase from $1.25 to $5 for each thousand gallons over the base. The vote to approve could happen at the Dec. 22 meeting.

? voted not to increase sewer or refuge prices on the utility bills.

? approved draw request from Community Development Block Grant of $10,308.

? heard proposal for 2016 waterline replacement preliminary engineering and environmental clearance study.

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