Hundreds of New Jobs on the Horizon for Marion

Hundreds of New Jobs on the Horizon for Marion
By: Arnold Wyrick

MARION, Ill. - When the doors at the old Marion Hospital closed for the final time five years ago, city leaders didn't know how long it would take for them to find a buyer for the building.  But, their wait may be coming to an end.  And hundreds of new jobs could be coming to the area.
"If everything materializes as they project at the end of the first year, they would probably have 300 people working and potentially as many as 600 by the end of the second year," said Marion's Mayor Bob Butler.
The Viamar Trading Company in Montara, California is interested in purchasing the old hospital and turning it into an assisted living center for seniors.
The President and CEO of the Marion Chamber of Commerce sees even more doors opening up in the area, once the facility is reopened.
"People that are going to come there are not necessarily going to stay there the whole time they're there.  They're going to want to get their loved one and maybe go out and have a cup of coffee somewhere or a sandwich.  So it might open up some 'niche-shopping' or something like that to develop," said George Trammell.
Some folks are looking forward to being able to have some place close by to place an elderly family member, without having to move them out of the community.
"My mom is 84 years old and one day she may need assistance.  And for her, Marion has always been her home her entire life.  And it would be good for the city to make that into an assisted living place," said Clarissa Allen of Marion.
The next step in the sell of the old hospital will come next Monday evening on January 7th.   That's when the city council members will vote whether or not to enter into a contract to sell the building to the California-based company.
"They're looking at investing $3.5 million into the building.  Anything of that magnitude is beneficial to Marion.  And it's going to be helpful to the county and the rest of the area too, Mayor Butler said.