Iowa Proud Marion: Redevelopment - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Proud Marion: Redevelopment

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MARION (KWWL) - Every day more than 20 thousand cars drive on 7th Avenue in Marion. And everyday some of those cars stop at the Marion Dairy Queen.

"20 percent of our traffic is impulse buys," former owner Snooks Bouska said.

But all this traffic, city leaders said is making this area rundown.

"There's a lot of discussion about ways to clean that area up. There's a lot of congestion. Just traffic safety concerns. Over 50 percent of the accidents in the community happen in this corridor," Developer Tom Teharne said.

Teharne and several others have been working to redevelop the entire area, starting at just before Marion Square, and running through highway 151.

"The idea that we should bring in and make public improvements in the corridor is really what we're trying to do to spur a revitalization to the entire corridor," Teharne said.

After drafting up several plans the city decided to develop a plan which redevelops this area, make it more pedestrian friendly. And models itself after several other Iowa communities like West Des Moines. The approved plan will put a round-about at 15th street. The plan will merge 6th and 7th Avenues into 6th Avenue. But that has some local businesses upset.

Take Bouska at Dairy Queen on 7th Avenue. He thinks the new plan ignores his business and will hurt many businesses along 7th Avenue.

"We need open access on each end so that we can maintain our traffic," Bouska said.

He and several others are unhappy with the city's decision and continue to fight it. In the meantime, Teharne says the city will move forward. All the while hoping to improve an already thriving community.

"We think there is a higher and better use for this corridor. Why not highlight those public improvements that will really be a benefit to new business," Teharne said.

Teheran said the plan will take at least 20 years to fully develop, if not longer. For now the city is working on street scapes. They said they'll hold several public input meetings before construction begins.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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