The Winds of Change



by Taylor Hawk, Executive Director, Main Street Marion


It seems as though everywhere you look in Marion, things are changing. From a new administration in City Hall, to the blue garbage totes lining the curbs, 2016 seems to promise change. Each board and committee meeting we have here at Main Street Marion is filled with talk of new ideas and exciting possibilities.

“These are the same issues we were talking about 20 years ago,” an attendee stated at my first MSM Roundtable as Executive Director. That sentence nearly took the winds of change right out of my sails.  And that’s when it hit me. The biggest indictment of myself, the MSM board, and the leadership of this city will be whether or not people can say the same thing 20 years from now.  

However, in order for true change to occur in Marion, we have a favor to ask of you, as a citizen of Marion. One of the easiest and yet, most impactful ways to create change, is to first change the narrative surrounding Marion. Instead of talking about the negatives of Marion and how it doesn’t offer this or that, what we need is people willing to look at this city for what it could be in the future, not how it fails to live up to its (very distant) past. I recently heard Erwin McManus, a California pastor and TED Talk veteran, speak about imagination. The idea of his talk was that we either help create the future we dream of, or we languish while living in the future someone else has created.

For decades, the city of Marion has been embroiled in a narrative of poverty, disenfranchisement, and cycles of hopelessness. Unfortunately, these are some of the same issues that were being talked about 20 years ago. But if we can make 2016 a time to dream of a future filled with hope, and each individual dedicates themselves to creating that future, we can make sure that these issues don’t dominate the conversation 20 years from now.

So here is our earnest promise from Main Street Marion.  Over the next few years, you will see a change in downtown Marion. It will take time, and it certainly won’t happen overnight, but we have a plan for change.

So please, hold us accountable. Empty promises are not our intention. We have a dream of the future we want to create for downtown Marion. And if you would like to be a part of that future, we are always happy to have new volunteers and committee members.  The beautiful thing about doing community development is that no matter who comes to you, their specific and unique set of talents can always be used for the good of the community.

So, here’s to a new year full of hope, dreams, and gale-force winds of change.

4 thoughts on “The Winds of Change

  1. Awesome article, Taylor! Marion is full of non-profits and businesses who are willing to work together on so many different issues. Maybe what we need to pick just one issue this year and focus on that single issue. There’s a lot of need in this area, but we can’t tackle everything all at once.

  2. wonderful.i grew up in down tpwn marion me and my mother lived at the paris building apartment.the third floor apt over looking the square.i used to sit up there and watch the christmas parade,when it used to go up washington st and down adams st.,such precious memories i think about everytime i go down town,my family my mom has since passed away but i will always cherish my childhood and growing living in the down town apartment building the paris apatment building.

  3. Good luck! I was a business owner for 25 years in a once thriving downtown and a former MSM board member. I don’t live in Marion now, but keep an eye on it’s progress or lack thereof. As a former Chamber Board member, I picked up a businessman at the airport and brought him to Marion for a major business opportunity. He said something to the effect of “I first want to see your downtown, to see what the city and the people think of themselves”. What a statement! Attitude determines Altitude. Again. Good Luck!

  4. Great article. It’s going to take some dreaming and some doing. You are the leader for the job. I’m excited to see what the future holds. I will speak of the hope that is yet to be fulfilled!

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