Renovations continue in Downtown Marion to attract more visitors

Marion's city square undergoes a major facelift.
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:44 PM CDT
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MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - Things are heating up in downtown Marion as nearly the entire square is under renovation.

From bringing in a new restaurant like a steakhouse, to an intimate music venue that’ll seat around 100 people, bakery, luxury apartments and a face lift to the iconic clock tower, private investors and city leaders are working to attract more people downtown.

“We’re really trying to make some improvements to make downtown more pedestrian friendly,” Marion Chief of Staff Cody Moake said.

Moake said the city’s downtown clock tower will become more of a visual attraction.

“If you want to think of a mini Bellagio right, we’re going to have lights and fountains that will shoot high up in the air, we can time them to music, it can be a place for people to gather and if nothing else just soak in the sights and sounds the fountains will bring to the area,” Moake said.

And during the winter, the clock tower premise will be converted into an ice skating rink. Skates will be available to rent.

“As long as it’s 50 or 55 degrees or less starting in the middle of November we’ll have an ice rink out there,” Moake said.

Construction work is underway in nearly every corner of the town square.

The Iconic Goodall building on the northside of the square was built in 1900. It’s undergoing renovations under private ownership.

“So this building is going to have 4 luxury apartments upstairs, and on this main level we have a bakery, deli coming in here. And then the lower level is to be determined,” Goodall building owner Jeff Mayer said.

Mayer expects the square to be a destination for visitors in the next year or two.

“Downtown that’s the fabric of our town, our city. And when it’s being completely renovated that’s just going to bring back a whole other more exciting atmosphere when you come downtown, a whole other unique area of Marion,” Mayer said.

Mayer says the apartments and the bakery will open by the end of the year.

Moake tells me the current City Hall is also being looked at to add more to downtown.

“We want this building to somehow contribute to this ecosystem. So we’re asking developers to kind of look at what they can make this building into. And we’re going to be accepting their proposals through December 3,” Moake said.

Leaders with the city tell me the construction completion of the First Southern Bank, which will be the new city hall, will be completed by January of 2023.

The Tower Square project is expected to be finished by the first week of November.