Leaders say they want to preserve the park. If that means removing history and green space from the park, I disagree.
Area on the east side of City Square Park in Marion, Iowa on Saturday, July 25, 2020. A skating rink may be included in the update. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Uptown City Square Park in Marion has long been the gathering place for many city celebrations and events. This pleasant open green space with crossing sidewalks has provided a pleasant setting in the form of many diverse musical events, artistic events, Christmas gatherings and other cultural and civic events. It is a place where our veterans are remembered, via the American Legion’s Eternal Torch, and our nation’s history via the Civil War Soldier Statue and Cannon. It also includes the majestic railway pavilion and a caboose.
The current tasteful outdoor grassy park in Uptown Marion, has been a focal point and gathering point for the citizens of Marion for over 150 years. It is a small area that has been well used. The opening of the park allowed for great diversity in the use of green space. It has hosted thousands of people at concerts or just one person enjoying the day at Uptown Marion.
Over the past 20 years, many changes have occurred along Seventh Avenue, Sixth Avenue and in downtown Marion. The city and citizens are now at a crossroads to decide if changes would be appropriate to make to City Square Park.
Discussions are underway at the town hall of Marion which could lead to considerable changes in this magnificent park. City developers and City Council are currently considering these changes. The main change would be to remove much of the park’s green space, including the trees from those areas, to build a skating rink.
In the March 2022 edition of the Marion Messenger there is a graphic presentation of what the park would look like with the ice rink and other changes. The rink would be an oval rink with a cross section of ice that will also require a mechanical support system to keep the ice frozen. Other proposed changes are to remove the caboose from the park and move it to another area of town, site yet to be announced, and then build a flower garden in the area where the caboose is currently located, to build a stage permanent along the north. side of the park along Seventh Avenue and to upgrade the washroom facilities adjoining the pavilion.
Quoting Brooke Prouty, Director of Uptown Mainstreet, “Marion Square Park is an iconic and beloved piece of Marion that we want to see preserved but also enjoyed and activated by the community.” I agree with Brooke, the city needs to preserve this iconic piece of Marion. And I too have observed a lot of fun in this park during my years living in Marion. As for “community-enabled,” if that means removing history and green space from the park, I disagree.
The Marion Messenger article stated: “The aim is to maintain the character and charm of the park while enhancing its features for all ages to enjoy. He also states, “This project aims to make this public place a place of entertainment for residents, 365 days a year.” Yes, toilet updates are needed, replanting of trees lost to the derecho should also take place and possibly repainting the caboose. Keep the lawns mowed, the sidewalks shoveled and in good condition so that the charm of the park is maintained, and that the citizens and visitors of Marion can continue to enjoy this magnificent park 365 days a year, for years to come.
My reason for writing this article is to express my appreciation for this park as it currently exists. I want the citizens of Marion to be aware of these proposed changes so that those who may also appreciate the current City Square Park as it is, may have the opportunity to contact the Mayor and Members of Council and express what they think of the park as it is now. is and their feelings about the proposed changes.
As for having an ice rink, there is one available in Thomas Park along with a toboggan run in the winter.
Charley Knudsen lives in Marion.