Marion mayor: City’s brightest days lie ahead

AbouAssaly delivers 28th annual State of the City speech

Marion mayor Nick AbouAssaly delivers the annual State of the City speech Thursday, March 10, 2022 at the Cedar Rapids Marriott. CREDIT RICHARD PRATT

As the third fastest-growing city in Iowa and the 13th largest city overall, Marion has seen substantial prosperity and progress in recent years, but an even brighter future lies ahead, Marion mayor Nick AbouAssaly told about 500 attendees at Marion’s State of the City speech Thursday at the Cedar Rapids Marriott.

The 28th annual address, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, was delayed from January due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. The postponement allowed Thursday’s event to be held in person after being delivered virtually in 2021.

Mr. AbouAssaly touched on several aspects of Marion’s growth in his address, from quality of life to housing, economic development, government, equity and inclusion, public safety and communication. Several videos were played during the speech, including one that highlighted several residents speaking of Marion as “home.”

Mr. AbouAssaly highlighted a 2021 community survey showed that more than 90% of Marion residents see the city as a good or excellent place to live and raise a family, and a similar percentage would recommend Marion to their friends

“Marion residents love their Marion address,” he said. “They see Marion as a place where they can achieve their goals in life. And that’s what makes our work so meaningful. When we go to work every day, we’re focused on more than collecting trash and fixing potholes. Those are important. The team Marion is investing in greater vision. We’re investing in our community’s dreams. We’re investing in better opportunities for all people. We’re investing in a quality of life that is unmatched in our state.”

After a presentation by Ryan Waller, who replaced Lon Pluckhahn in November as Marion’s city manager, Mr. AbouAssaly stressed that the city’s recent progress, as shown by projects such as Broad and Main, the Seventh Avenue streetscape project and the improvements to the Sixth Avenue corridor, weren’t accidental.

“Marion’s recent rise didn’t happen by pure luck or with us watching from the sidelines,” he said. “It happened only when we decided to make it happen. It happened only when we recognized that without embracing change, there can be no new opportunities and we moved into the driver’s seat to effect the right change and capitalize on the right opportunities that are best for our town.”

This story will be updated.