For 2018, downtown Marion will host 23 events that will require the closing of city streets. In 2017, Marion had 18 events that closed streets.
“That number is growing every year,” said City Manager Bob Boyette.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting, the Marion City Council approved a list of 22 events in 2018 that will call for the closing of Main and other streets. That list did not include the McDowell High homecoming parade because a date for it has not yet been set.
The list approved by council includes the Carolina Donut Festival (April 21), Marion Cruise-In (April 28), Blue Ridge Recovery Rally (May 19), Memorial Weekend Car Show (May 26), Liver Mush Festival (June 2), Main Street concert (June 15), Marion Cruise-In (June 16), Independence Day celebration (July 4), Main Street concert (July 20), Marion Cruise-In (July 21), National Night Out (Aug. 7), Main Street concert (Aug. 17), Marion Cruise-In (Aug. 18), Bigfoot Festival (Sept. 8), Marion Cruise-In (Sept. 15), Marion/McDowell County 175th anniversary concert (Sept. 28), Mountain Glory Festival (Oct. 13), Halloween Car Show (Oct. 27), Dia de Muertos festival (Nov. 3), Marion Christmas parade (Nov. 18), Melodies on Main (Dec. 6) and the New Year’s Eve celebration (Dec. 31).
Boyette said the Marion Business Association’s calendar lists 32 events such as yard sales, the Marion Comic Con and others that don’t call for the closing of streets. Another event called Marion’s Monsters, Mayhem and Madness will take place in October.
“If Tailgate Market days, bluegrass music at the Depot, Foothills Community Theater plays and scheduled events at private businesses are added, there will be over 200 separate events in downtown Marion in 2018,” he added.
“It is an excellent situation to find ourselves in where we have more events that require the closing of Main Street,” said Mayor Steve Little.
In other business, the Marion City Council:
• Approved the burning of two houses on Sugar Hill Road as part of the McDowell Fire & Rescue College during the weekend of March 16-18. These two houses are located across from the entrance to Rankin Drive and right next to the site for a planned medical office complex. These houses will be burned for firefighter training. “This is one of the best situations they have ever had for training,” said Boyette.
• Recognized CarePartners Hospice & Palliative Care McDowell as one of the contributors for the New Year’s Eve celebration. Meg White, major gifts officer for CarePartners, accepted the certificate from the city of Marion.
• Agreed to change one parking space on South Main Street from a two-hour parking limit to a 30-minute parking space, as requested by a business and to place a no-parking restriction on both sides of Westwood Chateau Drive behind the Lady Marian Plaza. Both changes were recommended by the City Council’s Street Committee (Council Members Don Ramsey and Ann Harkey). The city had recently received a request regarding parking on Westwood Chateau Drive and determined that the existing no-parking signs were not backed up by any rules. Both changes took effect immediately.
• Voted unanimously to ask the N.C. Department of Transportation to eliminate right turn on red restrictions at the Main and Court streets and Main and Henderson streets intersections, except for westbound traffic approaching Main Street from East Henderson Street. These restrictions had been put in place many years ago by state DOT at the request of the city. But more recently, Marion officials asked DOT about the possibility of removing the right turn on red restrictions, since it had been determined that this backed up traffic rather than protecting any pedestrians. DOT staff later informed Boyette that the restrictions could be removed, if requested by the City Council, except for westbound traffic approaching Main Street from East Henderson Street, due to visibility issues at that particular location.
• Approved the advertisement of the 2017 delinquent real property taxes on March 28.
• Approved the 2017-2018 city audit contract with Gould Killian CPA group of Asheville. This firm has performed the city’s and the ABC Board’s annual audits for the past three years. Gould Killian CPA will perform the city’s audit for $22,500. The firm will also do the ABC Board audit for $6,100 and this was approved by that board’s members at their January meeting.
• Approved the purchase of a 2018 Ford Escape for the Fire Department. This new vehicle will replace the department’s 2000 Impala. The city will buy the Ford Escape from Modern Ford of Boone at $21,644. This vehicle was found through the N.C. Sheriff’s Association Vehicle Procurement Program. Council also approved the purchase of a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado for the sewer treatment plant. It will replace a 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The city will buy the Silverado from Modern Chevrolet in Winston-Salem at $29,925. This vehicle was also found through the N.C. Sheriff’s Association Vehicle Procurement Program. Both of them came under budget.
• Adjourned the meeting in memory of Nancy Teeter, who recently passed away.