Let's clean up Marion

First impressions can be powerful. We often make decisions based on those first impressions.

When we meet people for the first time, we often do our best to provide a positive image — our hair is combed, our clothes are neat and clean.

The same is true when visitors come to our community. We should be putting our best foot forward — our yards should be mowed and free of clutter; our buildings should be painted and attractive. This is especially true at our entrances into town.

Marion City Council appears to be interested in enforcing city ordinances regarding dilapidated structures and unsightly properties but have yet to make that bold first move.

In the past, the only way dilapidated structures were razed by the city was after a formal complaint was filed. Often it took more than one petition and several years of complaints before the council was willing to spend the money.

We know it’s expensive to remove structures and it is unlikely the property owner will ever reimburse the city. Property taxes usually aren’t paid on the property and the county or city ends up owning the empty lot with the city left holding the bag.

However, if we want to attract residents who take pride in their properties and want to help this community to prosper, city officials must enforce ordinances and assist in cleaning up properties.

An allotment of $5,000 per year isn’t enough — especially this first year with 10 or more properties in need of repair or razing.

When these initial properties are cleaned up, there shouldn’t be this large number again — if city ordinances are enforced.

It also sends a message to all Marion property owners that ordinances pertaining to nuisance and dangerous structures will be enforced. When rules are followed, the city shouldn’t have this many properties in violation again.

The longer we wait, the more expensive it’s going to be.

My mother used to say we attract what we are. If we are a “trashy” town, we’re going to attract those who don’t take pride in their properties. If we’re a town that promotes a high quality of living, we’re going to attract those who want to live in clean and neat neighborhoods.

Who would you rather live next to?

We want people to invest in our community but it’s got to start with the city council.

Tell council members that you want to live in a community with pride — one with a bright future.

— susan berg

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