Plans to Change Downtown Marion Move Forward
By Mark Geary, Reporter
MARION - Despite hours of protest, plans to revamp downtown Marion took another step forward Tuesday night.
The city's Planning and Development Commission has recommended installing a roundabout in Marion and moving most traffic through downtown Marion from 7th Avenue over to 6th Avenue, but not before hearing a lot of complaints.
Dozens of people spoke out against plans to take traffic away from 7th avenue. But the planning and development commission decided to still endorse the idea unanimously, saying it will improve the city.
"This is our life. We've been here for 52 years and all of a sudden the city says no, they want to dry up traffic and then there goes your business," said Snooks Bouska with Save 7th Ave.
People also argue that plans to divert traffic from 7th Avenue were not publicized enough.
"It just seems like the whole thing hasn't been in the planning stages all that long. And they didn't get a whole lot of public opinion or make it known this was even going on," said life-long Marion resident Angie Farmer.
City Officials say they've been talking about the plan since January and made every effort to communicate with the public. Although they've been far less vocal, some community members support the idea.
"I just think it would improve Marion. One of the areas I think it would improve the downtown area the most is if they redid 6th Avenue because there's plenty of areas to put turn lanes in," said Jack Larson.
Now it's up to the City Council to decide what to do with 7th Avenue.
The City Council expects to vote on this concept before the end of the year. Even if it approves the idea, it could take anywhere from 3 to 20 years before construction could begin.
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