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Reinventing Uptown Marion

Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 6:26 PM CDT
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - The Uptown District in Our Town Marion is reinventing itself as a destination. With new businesses, restaurants, and outdoor art, it looks a lot different than it did a decade ago.

“We’ve seen a lot of new businesses come in and we’ve also seen a lot of buildings being rehabbed for new businesses so I’d say we’re pretty far,” says Brooke Prouty, Director of the Uptown Marion Main Street District. “We’ve also got more that we’re working on and we’re excited for things that will happen later this year.”

Maid-Rite will return to its old location soon and new development projects are in the works, like the Marion Library. It’s that progress that made investing in Our Town Marion a good choice for Josh Immerfall, who opened a restaurant in his hometown. “We chose Uptown Marion, specifically, because of the progress being made in Uptown and the growth that’s occurring; the commitment from the city, the chamber, and the Uptown community as a whole,” he says.

His restaurant, The Goldfinch Tap and Eatery, opened in September of 2019. “We’re trying to be a little more modern, a little bit more trendy, and I think that’s where the Uptown District is going as a whole.”

Just months later, he’s figuring out how to adapt during a pandemic to keep staff and customers safe and comfortable. “Outdoor dining, specifically, has been key. It’s something that’s comfortable for a lot of our customers, which we understand,” says Immerfall.

Outdoor dining also expanded into Uptown’s Artway, supporting nearby businesses that needed more outdoor space. The artway has its own expansion plans, full of creative work, all with ties to Marion. Prouty says the improvements in Uptown have made it a hub in recent years, and especially this year, as more people stay close to home. “When travel might not be an option right now, people are being tourists in their own communities, which we love to see.”

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