(McDowell News (Marion, NC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 23--The Marion City Council talked Tuesday about ways to better market the local community and make it more attractive to people who may want to relocate or do business here.
At the regular meeting, city officials talked about marketing strategies that would help promote Marion and McDowell County to other areas in the state and elsewhere. About three months ago, council authorized requests for proposals for strategies from marketing firms.
The Marion Business Association's Economic Development Committee reviewed these proposals and recommended they be narrowed down to three firms. They are Goss Agency of Asheville, North Star of Nashville, Tenn. and Summit Marketing Group of Hendersonville.
City Manager Bob Boyette said the upper end of these proposals came to around $60,000 to $70,000.
"This could be quite pricey," he said on Wednesday to The McDowell News.
City Council thought it would be best to meet with other local leaders and see if this could be done on a communitywide basis. At noon Friday, a meeting will be held at the Marion Depot with officials from the city, McDowell County, the MBA and the Tourism Development Authority. They will talk about the possibility of pursuing a marketing strategy that would cover Marion and McDowell County as well.
"Council was very receptive to the idea of a marketing plan for the entire community," said Boyette. "Council was receptive to the concept and the need to have partners. The city could not come close to funding the entire marketing plan. It's going to take some partners. We'll see how it goes and see if it is feasible."
He added that a successful marketing of the local community could bring in more tourists and more people to come live and do business here.
In other business, the City Council unanimously endorsed a proposed senior housing complex on Bakersville Road, next to Hospice of McDowell County. Fred G. Mills Sr. of Raleigh is the developer of this complex. He proposes to build 49 apartment units for people 55 or older. The rents would be kept to an affordable level. There would be a combination of one- or two-bedroom units.
United Property Management will manage the new senior housing complex. This company manages around 30 multi-family properties across North Carolina. Hospice of McDowell County's board has already given its preliminary approval for this senior housing complex by adopting an option agreement to sell the property, according to Boyette.
At Tuesday's meeting, the Marion City Council:
-- Appointed Jennifer Jackson as the new city attorney for Marion. Council had previously appointed Hill Evans to this position but he has recently announced his plans for retirement. Jackson, who was formerly with the firm of Dameron & Burgin, will become the new city attorney effective April 1.
-- Awarded a contract for purchasing two new patrol cars for the Marion Police Department. The city's current budget had money for purchasing two fully equipped patrol cars. Council awarded the contract to Ilderton Dodge of High Point, which submitted a low bid of $60,420. Boyette said this came in more than $7,000 under the original budget.
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