MARION

Meet Marion's new - and first - events planner, Jessica Carney

City of Marion

Jessica Carney, who lives in Marion, has been hired as the city’s first event coordinator.
City of Marion Jessica Carney, who lives in Marion, has been hired as the city’s first event coordinator.

MARION — The city of Marion’s first event coordinator is working on a new summer attraction.

Jessica Carney, who started her job in January, is putting together Fireworks and Fireflies for July 3.

Q: Do you have experience in event planning?

A: I’ve worked in event planning in some form for about 10 years, including at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library and at the U.S. Cellular Center and the McGrath Amphitheatre. ...

I’m from the area, but I’ve also worked at the Target Center arena in Minneapolis.

Q: What interested you in the events coordinator position with the city of Marion?

A: I do live in Marion, so it definitely was exciting to think about planning events for the people that live in the community that I also live in. So that was definitely attractive. ...

Q: How is your approach to events different now that you’re serving a city?

A: There’s a pretty big focus on earning as much revenue as possible in some of my previous positions.

I wouldn’t say we want to lose money, but that’s maybe not the No. 1 goal. I actually have had to do a little bit of an adjustment to think about things a different way.

Probably the bigger goal is to plan programming that benefits the citizens in the community.

Q: What events have you been working to plan for the city?

A: The one is the fireworks event coming up on July 3. ... That has been the first event and the biggest event I’ve been working on so far.

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We think we’re going to get a lot of people for that. So there’s quite a few logistics involved to make sure that goes off without a hitch.

Other than that, we’re looking into later this year and 2020, possibly adding I would say some concerts and other events like that. ...

We put a link to a survey out to the citizens of Marion so they could kind of tell me what events they want. So it’s been really interesting to read those responses.

Q: What venue are you most excited to schedule events for?

A: Uptown Artway is behind the businesses in downtown Marion. It’s lacking programming at the moment.

There’s not much planned back there. It’s a super unique space. It may even be a tad challenging to plan events back there, but it’s also really cool. …

It’s a really interesting shape, and it’s behind so many businesses that if we have events back there, it’ll be good for the entire Uptown business community.

Q: What do you hope to bring to the community?

A: I plan on doing quite a bit of listening to what people want. And that’s why we put out the survey, too.

I think the best event planners, they don’t always have the best ideas but they know how to listen to people and gather ideas and execute them in a way that works well.

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And also just the fact that Marion’s growing so much, I think it makes sense to have an event coordinator.

• Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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