Metal on the Move: Marion Business to Relocate due to Road Project
By Jill Kasparie, Reporter
MARION, Iowa – A long-time Marion business is going to have to move to make way for a big redesign of the city's streets.
The Central Corridor Project is a plan to fix up 6th and 7th avenues to help split up the heavy flow of cars that currently use 7th Avenue. The city is installing three roundabouts as part of the project.
The eastern-most roundabout, near 26th street, is slated to go right on top of the current Marion Iron Company.
"We’ve been one of the oldest operating businesses in this community,” said Marion Iron Company President Jim Brown.
Brown and his family have owned Marion Iron Company for about 30 years. On a seven-acre plot of land on both sides of 7th Avenue, Brown and his employees recycle scrap metal and run a steel business.
"It's something different every day. You never see the same thing twice and sometimes you are amazed,” Brown said.
Now something different is definitely coming their way, and it's not in the form of scrap metal. The city of Marion and a developer are working together to help relocate Marion Iron.
"There has just been a lot of moving parts but we are finally getting close to having a deal done,” said Marion City Manager Lon Pluckhahn.
The plan is to move the company to this empty lot of land on 3rd Avenue. The city said if the council adopts the formal proposal, developers could begin construction on a new Marion Iron facility.
"What they’d like to do is they’d like to build the new property for Marion Iron and then do a land exchange, they'll end up with the land where Marion Iron currently sits to do redevelopment projects minus what we need for the roundabout,” Pluckhahn said.
"What's exciting, though, is the property that they are leaving, located right in the heart of Marion's growing commercial area is going to open up a huge area for redevelopment, which once again will create additional jobs and additional property tax value for the city,” said Marion Economic Development President George Lake.
As for Jim, he sees these plans as a new opportunity.
"Though we have operated here for a long, long time, and could I continue to do that? Yes, But I think with Marion growing and we’re dead middle of Marion, I think it's an opportunity for the city and an opportunity for us to move us to another location that might be a recycling corridor,” Brown said.
City leaders said they've been working on this relocation plan for years, and expects the council will officially review the proposal in November. If all goes smoothly, the city said the company could move sometime next summer and construction on the roundabout could begin in the fall.
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