Thursday, June 15, 2017

Marion Council Considers Ideas for Old City Hall

The Marion City Council discussed three competing proposals Monday night for the 114-year-old for former City Hall building. Options range from a micro-brewery, a pizzeria or a full-service restaurant. The discussion took place in close session and not in public as it dealt with the possible sale of city-owned real estate. No action was taken afterwards.

The Marion Republican has the story.
Butler said three individuals, all from Marion, have approached the city with the different ideas for how the old building could be used. He did not name the individuals but said the council seems to be favoring one of the ideas. 
"We had three proposals, and I think we are pretty settled on one, but we haven't taken any official action," Butler said on Tuesday. He added the city will make an announcement shortly, either at the next council meeting in two weeks, or even before then.
The building sits in the northeastern corner of the square at 100 Tower Square Plaza. Built in 1903, the Marion State and Savings Bank used the first floor while the city had its offices on the second. When the bank built what is now the Citadel Building on the west side of the square in 1914, the city purchased the building and moved operations to the main floor.

The Marion police utilized rooms upstairs for years as the city police station before eventually moving to the ground floor in the north half of the building. The northeast corner of the basement housed the city jail. The city moved out of the building to larger offices in the current City Hall on the east side of the square in August 1993.

This is the third round of trying to find someone to refurbish and find a use for the old building since the Marion Living magazine closed up shop. Of the three suggestions, a microbrewery would likely have the most impact in bringing additional visitors to the city.

Although this is not the first proposal for a microbrewery in the city (one progressed a few years ago to the point of meeting with city officials on what changes would need to be made in the city's liquor ordinance to allow one), if selected, this proposal for one would be the first one of its kind to open in the county and would fit with the ongoing development of a downtown entertainment and nightlife district.