New roads could lead to development of STAR bond district

New roads could lead to development of STAR bond district

MARION, IL (KFVS) - The Star Bond initiative has seen more setbacks than progress over the years.

Just recently, city leaders were forced to find a new master developer after the original one backed out.

But the once dreamed about tourist destination is slowly becoming a reality.

Morgan Avenue, that is this road here, will eventually lead to whatever business or commercial development is built on the STAR bond district.

Before any new business moves to Marion, there will be some major changes along this stretch of road.

Morgan Avenue is a two lane highway that runs over Interstate 57. Construction workers are working to transform it into five lanes.

Glen Clarida is an engineer on the $15 million project, which began last summer.

“When this gets complete, interstate 57 traffic can exit a ramp and come directly to Morgan Avenue and either go east or west to the businesses that will be located there," said Glen Clarida, an engineer on the project.

Clarida said this will alleviate traffic problems along city streets, and should be a selling point for anyone who wants to bring their business to town.

The changes will improve the current flow of traffic too.

“You will have another entrance to our hotel from the back making it easier for customers,” said Econolodge Hotel Manager Mike Tracy.

Tracy said while the construction has been bad for business, customers will have easier access to the hotel once it's complete.

However, after years of disappointment, waiting for what's to come from the STAR bond district, he hopes these roads lead to more good news.

"They'll work out something," he hopes.

Clarida said the construction project has already sparked some interest from potential developers.

He hopes the finished product will be the best selling point.

"A lot of them are waiting on the completion of the road. They want to make sure it is not just a dream but an actuality," said Clarida.

The new stretch of road will also reduce the traffic along Rt. 13.

The project is set to finish by next spring.

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