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Streetscape project on Marion’s 7th Avenue scheduled to start in spring

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 4:58 AM CST
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - A major, multimillion-dollar construction project to revamp the Uptown Marion district is slated to start this spring.

The 7th Avenue Streetscape & Plaza Project will change the look of the street, with new trees and lighting, a wider sidewalk on one side of the road, and angled parking replacing parallel parking on the other side of the street.

The work will also extend to renovations at the North Plaza along 11th Street to encourage more pedestrian traffic.

The City of Marion said the project will fix aging infrastructure issues on the avenue, including improving the road condition and adding a currently nonexistent storm sewer. City staff said those infrastructure repairs will comprise about two-thirds of the project’s total $6.5 million cost.

While one business told TV9 on Thursday that it hopes the renovation will draw in more foot traffic and customers, staff at another business along 7th Avenue said they think the work is unnecessary and inconvenient and are afraid customers will stay away while construction is going on.

Businesses along 7th Avenue have been encouraged to utilize their back entrances during the construction period.

The Uptown Marion district said it plans to hold workshops, including one in February, with businesses to assist and prepare them for when repair work begins.

“What businesses can be doing now to better weather the storm of the streetscape or to attract customers during that time,” Uptown Marion Director Brooke Prouty said during a virtual input session Thursday. “We do plan to continue to have events and promotions to keep people coming to the district during construction.”

The Marion Chamber of Commerce also said it’ll create a toolkit to help businesses and plans to give updates about construction impacts during high-traffic hours.

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