It feels like change is in the wind. The mornings have those wonderful cooler temperatures and we’ve been blessed with much needed rain in the area.
Let’s start with the big things that are in the wind. This past week, we have begun the process of financial applications for loans and grants to begin one of the largest infrastructure projects in the city in quite some time. This project is the replacement of 6.8 miles of water mains and residential service connections in the city replacing existing lines with new PVC pipes. This project is planned to address many of the problems in lines that have been identified in the Valley, as well as the North and South Hill areas. We are applying for community development & block grants from department of commerce and from USDA Rural Development to assist with the required investment to complete the project. The preliminary engineering estimates indicate an investment of just under 4 million dollars for this infrastructure improvement.
In the Spring, we will begin the construction phase of the downtown revitalization project in our central business district in a cooperative effort with Kansas Department of Transportation. The new sidewalks, accessibility improvements, lighting and other amenity enhancements will be wonderful. This million-dollar investment is the catalysts for a greater private and public partnership to restore a wonderful shopping and strolling area to the city. Marion Economic Development Inc. and the City are developing participation incentives and low cost renovation loans for property owners in the project area.
As you can tell, we are excited about the big things, but just as excited about the small things that keep our community a wonderful place to enjoy life.
We are on the eve of two tremendous community events that share our rich culture and heritage with visitors and guests. The 40th anniversary of Marion’s Art in the Park festival is scheduled for September 15th in historic Brooker-Central Park. We are honored to have a full house of local and regional artisans and vendors joining the event.
Then, On September 29th, Marion will be hosting the 107th consecutive annual “Old Settler’s Day” celebration and gathering. What an amazing and rich history that is passed along generationally. We invite everyone to come and enjoy the parade as well and the many class reunions that occur throughout the entire community. Our historical museum is open during the event, and features the wall of fame with all the Marion class pictures. I promise several will bring smiles, and perhaps a giggle or two.
I’ll close with a little reminder regarding the political signage season that will be rapidly descending upon our community. The general election will be held on November 6th this year.
A state statute adopted in 2015 created a 45- day intended timeframe for political signs to be displayed.
Our community hasn’t adopted a prohibition to the display of political signs prior to that 45-day state window. So, in this “Age of Rage” in the politics of America, I encourage you to sit back, remember that being good neighbors is what has made Marion and Marion County, and grab a calendar and “X” off the days until November 6th, 2018. It just occurred to me, the calendar mark off will be a great way to introduce my grandchildren to the political process while having fun with them.