A Short History of the development of the Marion Enterprise Center
In the Fall of 2007 the Marion Economic Development Company (MEDCO) and the City of Marion began an aggressive initiative to focus on the redevelopment and clean up of the Brownfield / Central Corridor area of Marion. A significant aspect of this venture was the opportunity for existing Marion businesses to re-locate to a different location within Marion that would incorporate more compatible land uses in adjacent areas.
In order to help relocate Brownfield businesses out of the Central Corridor to keep those businesses in Marion, MEDCO and the City began looking at the possibility of purchasing approximately 40 acres of ground.
At the end of January, 2008, MEDCO began discussions with the owners of Fernow Farm about purchasing a 40 acre section of their 95 acre farm. The Fernow owners were willing to sell, but they would only sell the entire 95 acre farm. The MEDCO board approved purchasing Fernow Farms at the April 08, 2008 meeting. Concurrently the City of Marion agreed to provide financial backing for the purchase and development of Fernow Farms while a consortium of five Marion Financial institutions agreed to provide a $5.2 million line of credit with City TIF financing.
MEDCO Holding Company, LLC. (MHC) was established as a wholly owned corporation of MEDCO to serve as owner/manager of Fernow Farms with the land closing on the initial 95 acre Fernow Farms parcel taking place in September of 2008. At that time the project was called the Marion Enterprise Center.
MEDCO made a commitment to work with surrounding landowners in creating a business park that will help bring economic prosperity to Marion and the entire Corridor. Partner landowners include Waldo Morris, Bob Verhille, Wayne Blackford and the 168-Stamy partnership.
Bob Verhille and the Blackford Family owned an adjoining 88 acre parcel of ground to the Fernow Farm. They offered to sell MEDCO their ground to be part of the Marion Enterprise Center. In January 2010, the MHC closed on the purchase of the Verhille Blackford property.
This brought the total acreage of the Marion Enterprise Center to 184 acres. In addition, a 35 acre parcel owned by Waldo Morris was incorporated into the overall plan so that the City of Marion and MEDCO, with assistance from Priority One, could submit a RISE Grant application to the IDOT for the extension of Partners Avenue and was awarded a $1.3 million grant.
Development of the Marion Enterprise Center began in the Spring of 2010 with the full development expected to be completed by mid-summer of 2011.