Delay Continues For Marion STAR Bonds Project

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By Matthew Searcy

MARION -- It was touted as a deal to bring a shopping and entertainment complex to Marion.  

The city set aside 300 acres of land along interstate 57 and got a state tax incentive package to promote the project.
 
"We still expect and anticipate that it will happen," said Mayor Bob Butler. "Once we get a developer in place I think the project will begin to take shape."
 
The city is still searching for a new master developer to carry out the much anticipated shopping and entertainment complex.  
 
"At this point of time we have two individuals that are under consideration," explained Butler. "There are factors over which we don't have any control and the master developer has to make a very substantial commitment."
 
The delays have been frustrating for many.  
 
"We are waiting anxiously like everyone else is to see what the developers are going to do," said state representative John Bradley. "The state has made a huge infrastructure commitment. We've done our part."
 
He says the project could have a major impact in Southern Illinois, "It's a huge benefit to our region in terms of giving us the opportunity to compete with larger areas."
 
Experts say a slow economy is to blame for the delay. 
 
"It's just not happening as fast as we had hoped," said Butler. "We don't have a time frame other than we wish everything could have started yesterday." 
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