The Marion City Council approved Tuesday changes in the policy regarding the placement of sign boards around the city. This change in the policy is intended to make the sign boards more effective in promoting local events.

The city has five “Welcome to Historic Downtown Marion” signs at different places around town. Underneath the welcome signs are metal frames that local governments or non-profit organizations can use to advertise upcoming events with their own signs. These frames are made to fit 4-foot by 4-foot signs.

They are located at:

* East Court Street east of McDowell Department of Social Services

* South Main and Morgan streets

* North Main Street in front of Tractor Supply.

* West Court Street near the McDowell County Recreation Department.

* West Henderson Street between Railroad Street and Holly Hill Drive.

The old policy stated that the sign boards could not be at placed at any of these locations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. On Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to change the policy. Sign boards can now be placed between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Council members also agreed to lengthen the maximum time for an organization to use the sign boards to up to 30 days prior to a special event, if they are not already reserved. City officials also removed a provision that organizations could reserve the sign boards a maximum of four times per year.

“The changes were made to increase use of the sign boards and promotion of local events,” said City Manager Bob Boyette.

In other business, the Marion City Council:

• Approved the start of condemnation procedures for a dilapidated house at 235 Yancey Road. This house, owned by Michael Lewis, was severely damaged by fire on Dec. 18, 2017 and was deemed a total loss by Fire Chief Jim Neal.

• Approved the contract for right-of-way mowing. Council awarded the contract to Frank’s Lawn and Garden Service of Marion at a price of $1,000 a week. The firm submitted the lowest bid for the work.

• Agreed to purchase a 2018 F-350 truck for the Sanitation Department from Asheville Ford Lincoln at $38,815.

• Approved a request by Chris Dominianni to use the City Stage on North Main Street on Saturday, May 5 for a free Christian-themed concert open to the general public. This concert is part of the grand opening for Abba's House, a new ministry/business which will be opening in the near future on South Main Street next to Griffith's Jewelers.