The Marion City Council on Monday talked about having the city of Marion become the fiscal agent for a N.C. Division of Parks and Recreational Trails grant.
If awarded, the $60,000 grant would be used for developing the first phase of a regional Upper Catawba River Trail that will extend from Marion to the Burke and Catawba County line.
City Planning Director Heather Cotton said city of Marion officials have meet with representatives from Burke County, the city of Morganton, McDowell County, Duke Energy, Lake James State Park and the N.C. Fish and Wildlife to talk about developing this new Upper Catawba trail.
The purpose of the trail would be to create a destination for water-based recreational sports such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, tubing and camping along the Catawba River. The grant money would be used for developing a map of the trail, creating a logo and placing signs at each boat access area, according to Cotton.
After hearing from Cotton, council unanimously approved having Marion as the fiscal agent for this project.
In other business, the Marion City Council:
• Heard a request from the Pilot Club of Marion regarding the lights on the Christmas tree at the courthouse lawn. Traditionally, the city has maintained the lights and installed them on the large evergreen tree but the Pilot Club has paid for their replacement. The small club is asking the city to pay for these lights. Council members said they are agreeable to granting this request but would like to see an actual dollar amount. This item will be brought back at the Oct. 4 meeting for final action.
• Heard a presentation from John Gossett, president of McDowell Technical Community College. Gossett said the college will get around $4.5 million to $4.6 million from the statewide bond referendum. “Our board will have discussions about how to use that money,” he said, adding it could be used to construct a new building.
• Heard a report from Jerry Broome with the Region C Workforce Development Board. He talked about the new 12-minute video called “Made in McDowell.” This video was created by the McDowell County Manufacturing Workforce Pipeline Committee to get middle school students more interested in a career in manufacturing and let them know about the good jobs available here. It also asks these young people if they want to live in McDowell or work in manufacturing when they grow up. The video illustrates the good careers in manufacturing that are available here now and the quality of life in McDowell. It can be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2F2_PZ7VLZU
• Approved Councilman Don Ramsey as a voting delegate and Councilwoman Juanita Doggett for the N.C. League of Municipalities conference next month in Raleigh. City Manager Bob Boyette will be the delegate to the Advocacy Goals Conference.
• Heard an update from Boyette about retail sales in McDowell. For the month of July, McDowell County reported $32 million in retail sales, which is a record. Most of those retail sales occurred in Marion.
• Approved the purchase of new police car. Council accepted the bid of $31,834 for a fully equipped 2016 Dodge Charger. This bid was submitted by Performance Dodge in Clinton.