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Southern Illinois communities looking to build or re-build their economies in 2023

Marion downtown square
Benjy Jeffords
Renovations are happening at multiple buildings on the square in Marion

Southern Illinois communities are looking to 2023 as an opportunity to build - and in some cases rebuild - their economies, post-pandemic.

In 1991 the Illinois Center Mall opened its doors expanding Marion’s commercial footprint to the west.

Economic Development Manager Glenn Clarida says other parts of the city were left behind.

“Most of the focus had been on the West Side growth for years, and present administration is focusing on getting the downtown built back up, so we've got two vibrant areas going on.”

Multiple buildings around the square sat empty and became dilapidated over time.


Over the last few years, those buildings are seeing a new life through renovations and new businesses opening.

Clarida says even city hall will see some changes.

“The city hall where presently located is going to be abandoned probably in January or February next year. And moving over to the first Southern Bank building on the north side of the square and city hall will be relocated over there.”

Clarida says Marion’s location with multiple interstates and state routes only a short drive away has been a big help in their success

“Sometimes businesses look for you before you look for them. They've scouted your city out before you're even aware of it many times.”

The city was also the first to establish TIF districts that help businesses develop or redevelop areas of the city.

Clarida says the city has seen their revenue increase from their growth.

“Incremental growth yes, and you can tell that by sales tax, we Marion has the largest retail sales tax south of Springfield next to O'Fallon, Illinois.”

The city has multiple industrial and commercial businesses planning to open or expand in 2023.

Benjy Jeffords is a digital media production specialist at WSIU Public Broadcasting located at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
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