By: Megan Crider
The site of my thesis project is in my hometown of Marion, IL. My focus is going to be to do some downtown revitalization near the city square. In the past couple of decades, Marion has been rapidly developing the Route 13 corridor around the intersection of Interstate 57. This growth has given a lot to the city in terms of amenities and economic opportunities. This is all fine and good, and I rather enjoy seeing the expansion and what will be built next. However, it is a bit disappointing because the historic downtown is left hardly touched. It seems to have been all but forgotten. I feel like Marion is missing some prime opportunities to attract visitors to the downtown area.
As I have been gathering research I have noticed that trends like this one in Marion are quite often the case in most towns. Expansion occurs within the town while the downtown area remains underutilized. Some places recognize this as an issue and take effective and sometimes drastic steps to resolve it, producing in many cases renovated, revitalized, and inviting downtown districts or areas. Here in Carbondale a similar proposal is in the works for revamping the downtown. It has been a long process, but nonetheless things are starting to evolve and the reality of the revitalization ideas are near in sight. As a citizen of Marion I hope that something similar comes to fruition for their downtown. Doing so would invite more visitors to the area and provide both economic and social benefits.