Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Marion Central Corridor?
A. The Marion Central Corridor includes parts of 6th, 7th, and 8th Avenues from 1st Street to 35th Street. It is primarily a commercial corridor and includes the Marion Uptown.

Why is the city pursuing the redevelopment of the Marion Central Corridor?
A. The Marion Central Corridor is one of the most prominent and identifiable areas within the community. Over the years, portions of the Corridor have transitioned from being located on the perimeter to now the center of the community. Properties once reserved for warehouses and industrial uses are now better positioned for a mix of commercial and residential development.

Infrastructure within the Central Corridor is aging and in need of replacement. Several properties are underutilized and ready for redevelopment. When these two factors co-exist, simply rebuilding an existing street is not always the best long range decision. While a basic capital improvement is often the easiest choice, projects of this type must have a more visionary and long-term approach. The Central Corridor Master Plan and the recommended improvements were adopted with this vision in mind.

The Marion Central Corridor Project is a capital improvement project. This means the City of Marion will invest in public improvements such as pavement, sewers, sidewalks, trails, and streetscaping. The city will make these investments not only to improve the safety and quality of roadways, but to create an environment that fosters private redevelopment. A revitalized central corridor will solidify Marion’s place as a regional hub for business, urban-living, and entertainment. Collectively, these and other features will position Marion as an independent and self-sustaining regional destination.

What is the Marion Central Corridor Master Plan?
A. The Marion Central Corridor Master Plan is a document that guides public and private sector decision making, provides a progressive and attainable vision, and details an implementation strategy to turn that vision into reality. The Master Plan document contains several key elements including land use, transportation, streetscape design, community facilities, public spaces, sustainability, and an action plan. It serves as a foundation and guide for actual construction planning. It was adopted in November 2009.

What is the Uptown Streetscape Plan?
A. The Uptown Streetscape Plan is the first implementation step identified within the Central Corridor Master Plan. This planning process took a more detailed look at Uptown Marion between 9th and 15th streets, along 6th, 7th, and parts of 8th Avenue. The plan addresses a variety of items including signage, benches, lighting, street trees, sidewalks, and opportunities to accommodate additional pedestrian activities within the Uptown area. The plan establishes a theme for the area that respects the history and architecture while providing a framework for success long into the future.It was adopted in September 2011.

What is the West End Corridor Plan?
A. The West End Corridor Plan is the third and final component toward enhancing commerce and aesthetic appeal of the community’s entryways along the Central Corridor. First completed was the Central Corridor Master Plan, which looked more generally at the area between 9th and 35th Streets. Next, the Uptown Streetscape Plan was prepared with extensive citizen input. The Uptown Plan provides a more detailed design concept for the Marion Uptown (9th to 15th Streets).

The over-arching vision of the West End Corridor Plan is to create an enhanced business and pedestrian friendly climate for West 7th Avenue from approximately the western city limits on Marion Boulevard to 9th Street. Some of the stated goals of the West End Corridor Plan include improved vehicular safety and circulation, a better business environment, an enhanced pedestrian environment, improved aesthetics leading into the Uptown, and the creation of a memorable western ‘gateway’ into Marion. It was adopted in October 2011.

Is there a timeline for the project?
A. Construction of all improvements throughout the Central Corridor will occur in several phases over the next five to ten years. The first phase of the project was completed in 2012. The roundabout at 7th Street and 7th Avenue is expected to be built in 2015/2016. Future phases will be constructed as funding is available or as private development occurs along the corridor.

How will traffic be impacted?
A. Traffic improvements through the Marion Central Corridor include the construction of a new transportation arterial to accommodate future growth and redevelopment in the community. As part of the improvements, 6th Avenue, from approximately 7th Street to 31st Street, will be constructed to balance the flow of traffic moving through the Corridor. Primary access through the Uptown area will be accommodated by a roundabout at 7th Street as well as a new roundabout connection with 6th Avenue over the former location of Marion Iron around 27th Street.

The updated street alignment no longer calls for the closing of 7th Avenue (near 15th Street). Additionally, new north/south connections will be constructed near 22nd Street and near 27th Street to connect to the new 6th Avenue Corridor. This will also create new north/south connectors that will tie into the existing transportation network. Updated 6th Avenue Road Alignment

I’m not comfortable with roundabouts. How do I learn more about how they operate and their benefits?
A. Roundabouts provide numerous benefits including improved safety, better traffic flow, and savings to the tax payer. Learn more about roundabouts here.

Will there be any one-way streets?
A. No. There are no one-way streets proposed in any areas in or around the Marion Central Corridor.

Will 7th Avenue be closing?
A. No. The Central Corridor Master Plan called for 7th Avenue to be closed to through traffic at approximately 15th Street with a connection to a roundabout. That connection has been updated to allow east-west traffic to continue along 7th Ave. Updated 6th Avenue Road Alignment

Will there still be opportunity for input?
A. The Central Corridor Master Plan will serve as the foundation for decisions made during the construction design process. However, there will be continued opportunities for property owners and citizens to provide input to the plan. Through website surveys, public open houses, and meetings directly with impacted property owners and tenants, opportunity for feedback will remain on design elements such as materials used, final street amenities selected, etc…

Will changes still be made to the plan?
A. Several questions have been raised regarding the transportation network identified in the Marion Central Corridor Master Plan. Now that engineering work is underway to move the project from concept to construction, this network has received an additional level of analysis by the project engineers. For instance, the Central Corridor Master Plan calls for a specific number of access points along the new transportation network. The Central Corridor Traffic Study evaluated that route to determine the traffic impact of the improvements. Based on those findings, engineers are conducting further study to refine or slightly adjust those access points for the best possible results. The Master Plan will continue to serve as the basis for all design elements included in the final construction plans. Updated 6th Avenue Road Alignment

How is the city paying for the project?
A. The city has $3.9 million allocated to the Marion Central Corridor Project from the current Local Option Sales Tax. Additional funds will come from future bond issues that will be repaid using tax increment financing. The city is also aggressively pursuing grant opportunities for the project and successfully obtained a $1 million grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation's Clean Air Attainment Program for the construction of the roundabout at 7th Avenue and 7th Street..

How can I stay up to date on the Marion Central Corridor Project?
A. Periodic updates specific to this project will be sent out as additional information is available. Request to be added to that list by contacting Mike Barkalow, assistant city engineer.

Receive weekly Engineering Department Project News updates relating to current and proposed projects within the City by contacting Dan Whitlow, city engineer.

If I have further questions, who should I contact?
A. Feel free to contact Dan Whitlow, city engineer via email or by phone at 319-743-6340.

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