Marion residents are excited about Marion Square restoration plans

KCRG-TV9's Brian Tabick was at the park on Saturday morning and tells us what some people think of the proposed renovations.
Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 12:03 AM CDT
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - Several people were listening to music and shopping at local vendors Saturday during the Marion Square Market, but starting next year the park could look very different.

The Marion City Council approved the use of nearly $7 million of ARPA to be used to renovate Marion Square.

“We’re excited,” Kelli Knox, of Marion, said. “We love all of the things that Marion has to offer.”

Knox, a mother of 3, just moved to Marion and has been looking at the initial plans that would include: an ice rink that could accommodate 200 people, added shade areas to get out of the sun, and restoration to the train depot.

“One of the reasons why we chose Marion over Cedar Rapids, Mount Vernon, or Solon, was because of the things that they had already done and continue to do,” Knox said.

Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly said the plans had been in the works for a while, and after the derecho, the time was now.

“The park had a lot of damage from the derecho,” AbouAssaly said. “We lost some of the larger trees, and the depot was damaged. We began the process of completing the streetscape project, and it became time for doing work on the park itself.”

AbouAssaly said the project gave them a chance to bring new users to one of the most visible blocks in the city.

“This was the first park in the city of Marion,” AbouAssaly said. “We now have over 600 acres of parks and trails. So, there’s a new function for the space to transition into.”