MARION, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Downtown, a municipal pool, Indian Creek and remembering the "little things" will be the focus of making Marion a better place to live.
Those are the Future Four ideas that came out of Marion's ImagiNEXT initiative through the Marion Chamber of Commerce. That process sifted through more than 3,000 ideas on ways to improve life in Marion. It was an extension of an earlier project, Imagine8, which led to expanded trails, more restaurants, new splash pads and an ongoing push to expand the library.
Here are the Future Four ideas the ImagiNEXT committee settled on:
DOWNTOWN: The focus here will be on enhancing the curb-appeal and functionality of Marion's historic district. The suggested ideas include a plaza for year-round events, better lighting, added focal points like a water fountain, an ice rink and upgrading the train depot.
MUNICIPAL POOL: The number one idea from residents was a new, upgraded city pool with water park features like slides, zero entry edge, a toddler section, diving boards and a wave pool.
INDIAN CREEK: These ideas focus on embracing the central water way running through Marion, Indian Creek. The plan not only calls for developing waterfront activities along the creek but also on mitigating flash flood risks that have plagued some parts of the creek. The ideas include building a man-made lake, installing wetlands and trails for educational uses, beautifying green spaces near the creek and more year=round amenities like a beach or heated spaces.
"Little Things": This was a broad area of ideas focusing on small ideas to improve the city. Those included: • Expansion of curbside recycling• Marion fireworks on the 4th of July• Development of an app or text alert system to publicize events• Expansion of the open container area in Uptown• Installation of kiosks and/or welcome centers in high traffic areas in Marion
These Future Four ideas will be part of an application to Iowa Great Places. Designation is given to communities with a strong vision for innovation, and enhancing vitality and quality of life. The program supports the development of new and existing infrastructure intended to cultivate the unique and authentic qualities of regions in Iowa.
ImagiNEXT ideas were determined through community vote and a 23-member Selection Committee. Thank you to Martin Gardner Architecture for design assistance, Iowa BIG, and sponsors: Blue Sky Productions, City of Marion, Farmers State Bank, and KCRG TV9.