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Crisp Container may be expanding, seeks TIF extension

Managing Editor
updated: 3/7/2017 9:10 AM

MARION - A Marion bottling company is asking the city to set the wheels in motion to extend its Tax Increment Financing District for another 12 years it was learned at the regular meeting of the council Monday evening.

Crisp Container, a multi-million-dollar operation, opened at 700 Skyline Drive in Marion in 1996. It is owned by Harry Crisp Jr., who also owns Pepsi Mid-America.

Marion city administrator Gail West informed the council that if the TIF contract is extended, Crisp Container has tentative plans to expand its product line, adding both construction jobs and some full-time plant jobs in the process.

West added that the company might also use the out-of-service Crab Orchard and Egyptian Railroad to help transport its product. 
West cautioned that nothing is "final" regarding the project, just conversation at this point.

In an attempt to further the process and possibly create more jobs in the community, the council unanimously approved Ordinance 3370, which authorizes the execution of a professional services agreement for assistance with seeking a legislative extension of Marion TIF No. 8 between the economic development group, Jacob & Klein, LTD, and the city.

The council also agreed to begin fielding offers from interested developers of the old city hall on the square.

"We have at least seven interested parties so far that would like to turn it into a business," West said.

Commissioner Anthony Rinella said he wants any potential buyer to be aware of what he termed "structural issues" with the facility.

Mayor Bob Butler said anyone who is interested in developing the property needs to know there are problems that need to be addressed before transitioning to a new business.

After a lengthy discussion, the council authorized the Clarida-Ziegler engineering firm in Marion to design and advertise for bids for the reconstruction of the South Market Street project, including all necessary street, sewer and water items.

Butler said it would be "patently unfair" to ask homeowners in the area to have to pick up a big portion of the cost. Glenn Clarida estimates the project to cost in excess of $600,000 for the street replacement itself and additional sewer and water line costs would drive the cost of the project beyond $800,000.

The council also approved a bar screen and odor control project at the city's wastewater plant from JM Jones, Inc. out of Thompsonville at a cost of $304,250.