Merchants give advice on plan
Members of Marion Merchants told a consultant Tuesday that the city needs more housing, a vibrant Main St., robust entertainment, and activities for young families.
They answered questions posed by Andrew Myers, a program manager for Public Policy and Management Center at Wichita State University, which the city hired to help create a strategic plan.
Myers guided participants through a series of questions.
Q: If someone were to visit Marion for the first time, how would you finish this sentence: ‘Marion is a community that …’
A: It’s friendly and open. It does events well. It doesn’t realize the assets it has such as Central Park.
Q: What are the best assets or qualities of Marion?
A: Marion’s two lakes. Its historic buildings. Its location in the Flint Hills. The Santa Fe and Chisholm trails. Its broad array of churches. Its antique stores.
Q: What are the concerns or challenges you see for the community of Marion?
A: Lack of housing and capital for startup businesses. Antiquated infrastructure. Absence of a chamber of commerce, convention and visitors bureau, and economic development director.
Q: How do people find out about Marion and in what ways?
A: Attending an event. Coming to Marion for health care. They learn more after coming to Marion Reservoir or Marion County Park and Lake.
Q: If things remain the same, what are the things the community could potentially lose out on?
A: Entrepreneurship. Growth of businesses and housing stock.
One attendee who moved to Marion from a large city said that he finds himself exceedingly bored.
“There’s nothing for me to do for fun after 8 p.m.,” he said. “I can go listen to the neighbor’s dog bark.”
Q: What are critical issues?
A: Housing, infrastructure, diversity, infusion of young families.
“I think the overarching issue is leadership,” one participant said.
Q: What stands in the way of addressing some of these issues?
A: “This is not a city with an excess of leadership.” Tired attitude of “this is how we’ve always done it.”
Q: What type of community growth would you like to see in Marion?
A: Artsy shopping. More restaurants. Better internet and cell service.
Additional meetings to get input from residents are scheduled, but Wichita State did not provide information about them.
Last modified Oct. 12, 2022