“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead
Imagine8 was a huge success! Now that it’s reaching completion with the final two projects expecting to break ground in 2018, the community visioning process kicked off ImagiNEXT with the “Future Four.”
In 2009 to generate ideas that would enhance quality of life and create a strong identity for Marion, over 1,800 ideas were submitted and were narrowed down to the final eight – The Great 8.
These projects were incorporated into a successful Iowa Great Places application in 2009 and Marion was awarded over $400,000 through the Iowa Great Places program to fund the Imagine8 projects. Through the dedicated work of committee members and securing additional grants these projects have become a reality.
WIFI HIGHWAY created free WiFi hotspots in the core Uptown area and expanding along the commercial corridor as opportunities develop.
BOOK IT explored funding and expansion options for the Marion Library in a public/private collaboration.
ALL TRAILS LEAD TO MARION connected and expanded trails in Marion to adjacent communities with a focus on establishing a system along the central corridor.
MARION CAN established a community activation network to connect new residents and volunteers to organizations to create future leaders to serve the community.
MAKE A SPLASH identified the best locations and design elements for installing splash pads in city parks.
PARK IT expanded facilities and green space in the community, including programming at Lowe and Thomas Park with an amphitheater space.
EAT, DRINK AND BE MARION identified sites for new and expanded restaurant and entertainment venues, and to include development of incentive programs.
FUNCTIONS & FITNESS is an initiative to build a facility for community meetings, recreation opportunities, youth programs and senior activities with indoor courts, fitness and aquatics space.
In October 2017 over 3,000 ideas were again collected that can be put into action to enhance the already thriving community. A 23-member Selection Committee worked to narrow the list to 60 ideas which were put out for community vote. The Selection Committee used those results to determine the Future Four.
Just Keep Swimming Since Marion’s population is growing and the municipal pool is aging, new aquatics options need to be considered. In fact, a pool with cool water-park features is the number one idea offered by residents. Marion’s national ranking as a top 10 place for families should be supported by outstanding public amenities that meet or exceed expectations for recreation, education, fitness and fun! Some suggested elements are unique slides, zero entry edge, an infant/toddler section, fountains and waterfalls, diving boards of various heights, a wave pool, and a splash pad area.
The Heart of it All Marion’s historic district has always served as the city’s hub of civic and community life. Residents lend creative ideas that will enhance the year-round curb appeal and functionality of this area. Develop a plaza for year-round outdoor gathering, along with activities for all ages. Install lighting that enhances public safety and ambience. Create focal points such as a fountain or water feature with gardens for summertime. For wintertime, install an ice rink, enclosed fire places and innovative light displays. Create a performance space in City Square Park. Upgrade the depot, maintaining its history while making it more useful year-round. Expand the Uptown Art-way to the east and west, and add more public seating in the shopping area.
Creek Side Pride Indian Creek offers both challenges and opportunities. Since most residents live within the creek’s watershed, they are well positioned and motivated to help prevent regional flooding. Marion citizens are also keenly interested in recreational and educational ideas that embrace their creek. An innovative project that combines these concepts would enjoy widespread support by the community. Some thoughts are to build a man-made lake/pond, enhance existing green space with gardens, expand year-round outdoor recreation and education options and amenities.
It’s the Little Things Marion residents would like to collaborate with city leaders in the creation of policies that can be put into place relatively quickly. A few of their ideas are to expand curbside recycling, hold Marion Fireworks on the 4th of July, develop and app or text alert system to publicize events, and install kiosks and welcome centers in high traffic areas.