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Council notes concern regarding airport article
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · August 10th, 2017

The Marion Airport was the topic of two different conversations at the regular Marion City Council Meeting held on Thursday, August 3, 2017.

One of the speakers was Jeff Witter of Springville, who expressed his disappointment in an article about the airport published on July 30, 2017, in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Witter indicated that he considered the article to be misleading. He also showed concern, due to the article, for the City's application to the Department of Transportation for airport funding. He spoke briefly on the history of the airport project and presented a letter (read by City Manager Lon Pluckhahn) from Jan Walton regarding the sale of the airport to Genesis Equities LLC.

In addition, Witter mentioned improvements that have been made to the airport and requested that the City make a formal response to the Gazette article.

In remarks at the end of the meeting, Council Member Joe Spinks stated that he would be conducting interviews for the Airport Commission this week. He said the airport is a key development for Marion and he mentioned his disappointment in the Gazette story.

John Nieland also spoke toward the beginning of the meeting about hiring authority (city manager).

A public hearing had been held at the July 20, 2017, council meeting concerning Ordinance No. 17-18, which, if adopted, would amend Ordinance No. 13-14 and the limitation on hours of operation. It would affect, in particular, property located south of Tower Terrace Road, west of 3rd Street, east of Irish Drive and north and west of ESCO Company, which is near a residential housing area. A number of people spoke at the hearing, some supporting No. 17-18 and some opposing it.

On July 20, the motion was tabled and staff was to work on special zoning for the Tower Terrace Road corridor. The roll call vote at that time showed yeas from Council Members Draper, AbouAssaly, Brandt and Pazour. Nays came from Etzel and Spinks. (Nicholson was absent.) So the motion for further staff work passed.

Assistant Planning Director Dave Hockett updated the council on August 3, proposing that "bars" be defined, that bars be removed as a permitted use, and that hours of operation be amended to allow businesses to stay open until 1 a.m. After discussion, Mayor AbouAssaly suggested that businesses be required to close at midnight Sunday through Thursday and at 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. However no further council action was taken at this time.

Among items approved unanimously on the consent calendar was a partial payment and a change order for Woodruff Construction regarding the Marion Independent School District's tennis court project.

Another was a resolution supporting and authorizing submitting a Resource Enhancement and Protection Grant application ($150,000) for Lowe Park Development.

Stops signs were approved for a number of locations: Calder Dr./44th St., 35th Ave./44th St., Pluto Ave.,/Prairie Hill Dr., Pluto Ave./50th St., Prairie Hill Dr./29th Ave., and 50th St./29th Ave.

Engineering services conducted by Shoemaker & Haaland Professional Engineers and related to the CeMar Trail from the Cedar Rapids city limits near 33rd St. SE to 7th St. in Marion were approved at a cost of $639,466.50.

A contract was approved with Mediacom for under-grounding fiber cable associated with the Tower Terrace Road Project (Phase VI).

Lynette Brenzel, director of Marion Heritage Center and Museum, requested the donation of an electronic security system. The written request was received and filed, and specified surplus property was donated to the Heritage Center.

August 17 was set as the new date for the sale of General Obligation Corporate Purpose Bonds, Series 2017A.

Initial consideration of Ordinance No. 17-19 was approved. It is about noise and limited sound sources.

Topics of public hearings and contracts approved include the Eco Industrial Park grading project (Rathje, $140,943.50) and the 2017 storm sewer project (also Rathje, $166,104).

Abode Construction will handle the 2017 Lucore Road reconstruction project ($1,493,857.25).

For contracts awarded and other public hearings which were conducted, one can look at the minutes on the City of Marion website, turn to the public notices in the Marion Times, or listen to the meeting on YouTube.
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