New Developments Bring Amenities to Marion Residents

By Heather Hubbs, Reporter

MARION, Iowa-- Marion is breaking ground Wednesday on a new amphitheater at Lowe Park. The 1.7 million dollar project includes a 50 foot wide stage, with a sculptured canopy, and an art sculpture trail around the amphitheater and park. This project has been nearly 5 years in the making and came out of Imagine 8, where the community came together to envision what they wanted for their town.

Funding came from a variety of sources, $750,000 from a local option sales tax, $650,000 from grants, and the remainder from private donations.

"It gives us a venue besides city park to have performances. Not only musical type events but plays, those types of things," said Mike Carolan, Director of Marion Parks and Recreation Dept.

The amphitheater is expected to be complete in December of 2013 and the first events will be held sometime in the spring.

The amphitheater is just one of many new amenities coming to Marion. As the town continues to grow, so do the number of businesses catering to the needs of residents.

Lincolnview Square is a $22 million project near 7th Ave. and 35th Street in Marion. A CVS and Linn Area Credit Union just opened, a Kum and Go is being built, and soon there will be a four building strip mall with restaurants and retail shops.

Other projects include a new three story building that is going up at 7th ave and 13th street. The $2.6 million project will be the new home of Philip's Diamond shop, with leased out space in the upper levels. Construction is set to be complete in spring of 2014. The old Jiffy Lube just down the block on 7th is set to be torn down. While plans for the site are still in the early stages, city officials tell us a developer plans to build a three story building with office space, apartments, a restaurant, and possibly even a roof top bar.

"I hope people see Marion is growing. We haven't seen a lot of redevelopment along our corridor in 20-30 years and have three really big projects and some smaller projects that are exciting," said Dave Hockett, Marion Assistant Planning and Development Director.

City officials say these projects are just the beginning of new development in Marion. There are many more in the works.
They say the goal is to meet the demands of Marion residents so they don't have to go to Cedar Rapids or Iowa City.
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