Marion touting free lots at its business, industrial parks

07/22/2014 10:50 AM

07/22/2014 5:58 PM

Marion’s economic development director of four months is looking to spur growth in the central Kansas town of about 2,000 residents by promoting a little-known incentive: free land for some companies that relocate there and bring jobs.

“It’s just one of those added incentives,” Jones said Tuesday. “We’re just trying to attract new jobs, money to our community.”

Terry Jones said the free or reduced-price lots are available in the city’s business and industrial parks, both of which are on the northeast side of Marion, along U.S. 56.

The awarding of a free lot to a company will be determined on a case-by-case basis and must first receive approval by the Marion City Council, said Jones and Marion City Administrator Roger Holter.

Jones said the business park, on the north side of U.S. 56, has 16 open lots, most of which are about 100 by 163 feet. In the industrial park, which sits near the business park but is on the south side of U.S. 56, lot sizes average 300 by 122 feet. “(But) we can combine lots and make them pretty much as big as you want,” Jones said.

There are 17 lots available in the industrial park.

Holter, Marion’s city administrator since December, said land for the parks was acquired by the city about 20 years ago, and the business park “project stagnated somewhere along the line.”

The industrial park, too, “started off in a pretty good flurry,” Holter said. And while the industrial park does have tenants, “it’s still sitting with about 60 percent of the land available,” he said.

“It’s just an asset sitting there, and we’re trying to figure out how to get the word out,” Holter added.

Holter said the last marketing effort for the parks that he knows of happened about eight years ago and consisted of placing signs along the highway touting free lots.

“We do have conversations going on with four entities (about) coming into the community,” he said about prospects for the business and industrial parks since reviving the free lots incentive.

“Incentives including and up to free land can be pretty enticing,” Holter said.

For more information on the incentives, contact Jones at 620-382-3703.

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