Government

Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly lists city's achievements, says more is coming

Business, housing growing, construction marks city's growth

One of three clubhouses is shown at Prospect Meadows Sports Complex, which opened last summer. Marion Mayor Nick AbouAss
One of three clubhouses is shown at Prospect Meadows Sports Complex, which opened last summer. Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly, in his Thursday State of the City address, said he expects the complex will draw about 1,000 travel teams and 100,000 people to Marion this year. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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MARION — Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly lauded a decade of achievements and hinted at upcoming projects during his State of the City address Thursday.

At a sold-out banquet hall at the Cedar Rapids Marriott, AbouAssaly summarized 10 years of what he called “economic vitality,” “good governance” and community.

“Marion seems to have no shortage of people who see the ‘unity’ in ‘community’ and work every day to make a positive impact on the lives of others and ultimately make Marion the wonderful town it is,” AbouAssaly said.

AbouAssaly noted construction of an $11 million, 135,000-square-foot public services maintenance building, which will be part of an “eco industrial park.”

Once completed, it will be “one of the largest geothermal facilities in Iowa, incorporating renewable energy systems to power operations,” AbouAssaly said.

The city also plans to convert its vehicles to compressed natural gas, which will benefit the environment and provide long-term savings for Marion taxpayers, he said.

Prospect Meadows Sports Complex, a baseball facility off County Home Road and Highway 13, which held its first season this year, is a “shining example” of what Marion can accomplish, AbouAssaly said.

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Prospect Meadows could bring 1,000 travel teams and 100,000 people to Marion in 2020, generating the need for 10,000 hotel room stays.

Squaw Creek Crossing, an 88-unit, multifamily housing complex, will break ground this year, as will a 93-room Holiday Inn Express on 20 acres on the northeast corner of Highways 13 and 151.

Victory Sports Complex plans to begin building a 19,000-square-foot facility offering ninja warrior courses, rock climbing and other indoor entertainment.

“We could have some very exciting announcements soon about other activities and experiences that will be added to this amazing place, so stay tuned,” AbouAssaly said.

Commercial business also expanded in Marion last year, he said.

Timberline Manufacturing moved its 200-employee operation to a facility on Blairs Ferry Road. Spee-Dee Delivery began operating a new regional distribution facility in the Marion Enterprise Center.

By the end January, AbouAssaly said, U.S. Cellular will finish a $2 million renovation of its Armar Plaza customer care center and will add 100 jobs to the area.

The city also will begin intersection improvements at 31st Street and Highway 100 along the Marion bypass; Echo Hill and Alburnett roads north of Linn-Mar High School; and 35th Street and 10th Avenue (Business Highway 151), thanks to $1.14 million in funding from the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The recently re-elected mayor praised a year of growth.

In the past 10 years, Marion has added 28 miles of new streets — “the distance from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City,” AbouAssaly said — and six roundabouts.

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“That is about 30 percent of our current transportation grid,” AbouAssaly said. “All were built in the last decade. They now provide more convenient connections and safer travel throughout the city.”

Along with more roads, he said, 1,000 houses and families became part of Marion, increasing the city’s valuation 6.23 percent last year.

Comments: (319) 368-8664; grace.king@thegazette.com

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