City Manager Mark Rohr Addresses the Citizens Advisory Council

By Ron Munden – 1/8/2020

On January 7, the City Manager briefed members and guests of the CAC on the status of ongoing projects.

Animal Adoption Center The county has agreed to assist the city with funding for the construction of the facility.  The city is waiting on the results of a soil sample test to determine if it pursues an alternate site for the building. A subject matter expert is under contract to assist with the development of an RFQ/RFP.

City Charter City is in the early stages of replacing the City Charter that was developed in 1909.  Meetings of the charter committee will be open to the public.

Downtown Redevelopment Plan The plan was developed based on the data collected at the June 1 Mobilize Marshall meeting, so it is a grassroots effort.  The current plan should be considered a starting point for downtown redevelopment.

Infrastructure Improvement The city has hired a new Public Works Director.  He is an experienced professional engineer.  The city faces many infrastructure problems.  The water line break on Travis Street is latest example.  That line was 18 years old.  The below ground infrastructure is much worst than the above ground infrastructure.

Economic Development Plan for City The plan is expected to be completed by the end of the month.  The city needs to obtain new revenue sources.  Based on engineering studies the city should spend be spending between $14.6 million to $16.1 million per year for the next 5 years to address the city’s infrastructure problems.  Currently the city is spending less than 1/3 that amount.  In order to address the problem and not raise taxes the city must have additional revenue streams.

More on the Downtown Redevelopment Plan Mr. Rohr the addressed the recent editorial in the Marshall News Messenger and the questions asked in that editorial.

  • The plan was the result of the June 1 meeting and input from a set of stakeholders.  The city developed what it though was the best plan and presented it to the commission on November 21.  It should be considered the starting point.
  • The plan will only enhance Wonderland of Lights.  The design includes a space for the skating rink.
  • Traffic flow on Bolivar will change.  Mr. Rohr pointed out that traffic flow in the downtown is not idea today so changes will improve the flow.
  • The plan will improve parking and help the elderly.  The plan eliminates 61 parking spaces and adds 69 spaces.  Mr. Rohr pointed out that these 61 spaces are not available today for three months of the year because of Wonderland of Lights.  Therefore, the plan will improve parking in the downtown.  Also, bump outs will make cross streets safer.
  • Ownership of the square will be addressed at a future meeting.
  • Community Block Grants could be a source of funding for this project.  Use of these funds will be determined by the city commission.

Other items discussed

  • Mr. Rohr was asked if anything is being done about the blue buckle building.  He said that there is little interest by the private sector to renovate the building at this time.  He hopes the once the redevelopment of the downtown is underway there may be increased interest.
  • Mr. Rohr was asked what is being done to improve the hospital in Marshall.  He pointed out that the population of Marshall has not increased in 70 years.  He said that in conversation with hospital representatives they indicated their priorities are focused on growth areas so Marshall is not a priority.

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