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by Mike and Lisa Pedersen owners of the Marion Tomaso’s Pizza · November 2nd, 2017


To the Editor:

My wife and I met in Marion working at the Naso's Restaurant while I attended college. Our first place together was on Meadowview Drive in an apartment. We own a home here in Marion and own the Tomaso's Pizza in the Marion Square Plaza. While our careers pulled us away, we returned. We raised our kids here in Marion where they attended Linn-Mar Schools. We want to continue living and working in Marion through retirement. We love Marion. Our roots go back 27 years.

We get told by the Marion City Council and the new owners of Marion Square Plaza that they love Marion, too. The only question to be answered from where we sit is: Does the Marion City Council love us, as citizens, as business stake holders? Truly not just us, but all the family owned business that the Marion City Council's grand plan has been displacing, not just in Marion Square Plaza, but throughout the city.

You see, from our point of view, they do not appear to. You see they made a value judgment. We believe they judged that family owned business that were collecting sales tax aand paying toward building property tax were less important than there vision of a new Marion. While businesses have been compensated, it has been lacking in private conversations I have had with those already displaced by this vision. I will leave it to them to speak any more for themselves.

Now, maybe these are the right choices for the city; history will judge that. It is pointless to continue that debate, the die is cast. What is not pointless is what does the city owe us. So far, every idea that has been floated to help, with limited at best communication that has been had, we will get nothing for being displaced. Property owners will get big tax incentives to help us, but only if we move to buildings the city chooses. It just seems a bit unfair to be told to get out of the way, and told where to go literally and figuratively.

I have tried to find a way to get out of the city's way. I have lost one site I liked because the deal to buy the plaza took 11 months. I have wanted to pursue two other locations but have been told the city will do nothing to help me or the landlord with those choices. So it appears that love is conditional on obedience. So to us our love appears to be one sided.

I have to tell you no one goes to the lengths I have unless they love Marion. I do not attend all those meetings and look into every possible solution to try and stay in Marion for any other reason than we love Marion. Small businesses like ours create the sales that pay the very taxes the city is chasing. We pay the leases that pay for the very buildings the developers want to build. Over a million dollars in wealth will be destroyed without direct help.

So I ask again: Does the Marion City Council, and the commercial property owners in Marion love us back? We have waited a year for an answer to that question. We want to stay In Marion, but it must be based on sound business choices, not forced compliance.
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