Marion mayor outlines community accomplishments

Our largest accomplishment to date as a community has been the downtown revitalization project. After 39 years, the original dreams have been brought forward to reality through creative project and financial management.

The community wide “Street Dance & Ribbon Cutting” was a tremendous testament to the power of community.

But this has only been the capstone community project. We’ve accomplished so much more and continue to lay the foundation for the future.

Not in a particular order of importance here are some community wins:

The Community Information Kiosk has been replaced with a “state of the Art” electronic communications board. A tremendous example of private and public partnerships.

We have launched the Marion “Code Red” emergency notification system.

With broad based community support, we have relaunched a K-9 unit within our law enforcement agency and partnered with the 8th Judicial District to create a new Juvenile Intake and Support Center serving the entire county.

Our public safety teams are honored to have new leadership with Police Chief Clinton Jeffrey; Fire Chief Preston Williams; Asst. Police Chief Steven Janzen; and Asst. Fire Chief Chris Killough. These extremely capable leaders are taking our public safety efforts in exciting and amazing new directions.

As our world changes to more globally impacted society, our city is taken steps to be fully prepared for the future. Internal training programs have been launched to include Strategic Planning training, Cyber Security training, and Human Trafficking prevention training. In an effort to protect all our customer information, we are upgrading all computer and server equipment. Tremendous new safeguards are being implemented through national partnerships with FEMA, MS-ISAC, FBI and APPA.

As our public owned utilities are completing 103 years of continuous service to the community, we continue to focus on the future.

Our water utility has added another State Certified Water Plant Operator; completed maintenance upgrades to the ozone treatment system; and have taken steps to secure alternative waterline project financing with a potential savings of over 2 million on the project.

Our electrical utility has completed a rebuild of the 1960’s switch gear; completed a complete system mapping and modeling project; launched the Energy Efficiency Rebate program for customers; and secured a solar field project through grants for integration into our electric distribution system. Our opportunity to bring “Green Power” options directly into our community.

As you have grown to expect from your city hall team, they have delivered a highly acceptable audit, superior rating on financial health from the KPP, successfully implemented state mandated legislation on Cereal Malt Beverages and ATV/UTV operations ordinances while successfully administering state and federal grants and applications for future street and water projects.

Our business community is engaging in this environment of sound municipal leadership by expanding or creating new businesses as exhibited by Edward’s Café, Parlor 1886, JR Hatters, Expedition Wind, Spur Ridge The Lodge, Silk Salon Spa & Boutique, Sprowl’s Construction & Restoration and NF Construction.

Participation continues to grow in our premier community events of Chingawassa Days, Art in the Park (Soon to be a 2-day event), and Old settler’s. A special note of appreciation to the Armstrong Family and NASA for their support this year in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. We are so honored to have these community partner’s showcasing Marion to the greater regional community.

As we continue to look and plan for the future, we are excited about the projects on the books for 2020 and beyond. We have the street surface renovation project for west main, the Mudd Creek project, airport design project, and several more that are in the works as a public/private partnership to make our community extremely attractive to young families and workers. We are on the radar screens for individuals and families wanting to come join in our progressive community, with award winning educational and medical institutions, and a quality of life that’s unsurpassed in the region.