Every corner of our world has been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 crisis. It has been a significant shift to everyday life. Many have found these changes hard to track. As the virus outbreak ramped up, we saw businesses close, employers implement safety protocols, and the best laid plans pivot to navigate a pandemic. While things continue to change daily, the City of Marion is working diligently to support residents and staff.
“We’re getting hit with local option sales tax, hotel/motel and road use tax that will be heavily impacted by consumer behavior as many people are working remotely and not driving.” Says Marion City Manager Lon Pluckhahn. “Fortunately Marion is not a community that relies heavily on the use of local option sales tax to pay for operating support. This allows future projects to simply be delayed in order to pay for projects currently underway (that may be impacted by a short term funding decrease).”
“The hardest piece of it all is not knowing how long this will last. What’s the duration of this going to be?”
While many are struggling to live and work while not having those answers, life must go on. Marion Mayor, Nick AbouAssaly, initiated the Community Recovery Task Force that meets twice a month, pulling in individuals that represent non-profits, churches, business, city, and county to uncover gaps that may need attention.
“By bringing all parties into the same discussion, you can see a lot of synergies build and it has helped open eyes on what is needed as well as what’s already available in our community,” said Pluckhahn.
The City of Marion also issued a Resident Readiness Survey to gauge how comfortable residents are in reentering local establishments as restrictions were lifted.
“One of the areas that the Resident Readiness Survey shed light on for us and one that jumped out was how people were much more comfortable with outdoor dining options, so we’ve explored adding more outside dining space,” said Pluckhahn. Results of this survey are available online.
Unfortunately, a lot of the impact has been on kids in the community. As summer kicked off, many summer sports, camps, pools and playgrounds were forced to close. Marion Parks and Rec has been able to offer a shortened summer sports season for many kids and continues to bring forth additional ideas for youth in the community.
The City and community of Marion continues to reach higher as they navigate the ever-changing status of COVID-19. For more information and to stay up to date, check the City of Marion, Marion Economic Development Corp. and the Marion Chamber COVID-19 resource pages.