The Marysville Armed Forces Reserve Center was officially commissioned and opened on April 1, bringing more soldiers into the community and potential economic benefits as well.
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring hopes the center will bring both economic and social benefits to the area with the numbers of temporary and permanent soldiers it will bring.
There are 650 soldiers now at the facility. As more arrive in July, there will be over 1,000 soldiers stationed there, according to Maj. Gen. Glenn Lesniak.
The new Smokey Point location is now home for Army Reserve and National Guard units that were based formerly at Fort Lawton in Seattle, the Army Reserve Center in Everett and the Everett National Guard Armory Center, all of which have been closed.
Since the construction of the Naval base in Everett in 1994, Marysville has been essentially a Navy city, said Nehring. However, "with the arrival of this Armed Forces Reserve Center I am deeply proud to say that we can broaden our status to call ourselves an all-services military city," he said.
The opening of the center brings more soldiers into the community and adds to the naval relationships of the past.
Arlington also has specific historical connections to the Navy, and Barbara Tolbert, mayor of Arlington, said that military has always been welcome there.
"Arlington is a community that has a special place in its heart for veterans. Our airfield in Arlington started off as a Naval training center in World War II. Ever since then our hearts and our arms have been open to those that serve our country," she said.
Nehring also shared a story from Col. Phillip Jolly, a commander who will be working at the new facility. Some soldiers Jolly has known have been at local restaurants and gone to pay the bill and found that it had already been taken care of "on the house" or that some other patron had paid.
"I hope that you'll continue to see that level of support in this city and I'm confident that you will. It's not always going to be free meals and fanfare, but you can be sure that this community will get behind and support this Armed Forces Reserve Center," said Nehring.
Nehring said that soldiers and veterans have received this kind of gratitude and respect because of the sacrifices they have made and hopes Marysville will make a good home for them.
"While the lives of all Americans have really changed a lot since 9/11, the armed forces of our nation have borne the brunt of this change. Your [soldier's] lives have changed far more dramatically than ours. And you have been put in harm's way to defend the freedoms of this great nation, sacrificing time away from loved ones, from jobs, and from other commitments back home," he said.
The $33 million facility is part of an effort since 2005 to improve the Armed Forces Reserve buildings across the country. About 20 percent of the infrastructure has been upgraded or replaced, according to Lesniak.
The building is Silver-certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a government program that promotes environmental sustainability in buildings and uses third party verifications for its ratings.
Natural light and heating designs improve the energy efficiency of the building. The roofs are designed to push the water runoff into the facility's grass so that sprinklers are not necessary. Even the grass itself has been engineered to be drought and plague resistant for minimal upkeep.
Lesniak says that the new facility is an upgrade that brought with it better communications capabilities, better fitness centers, and better training simulators.
The weapons training room simulates the feel and force of real weapons and provides projections of real world scenarios for soldiers to train.
"These are all designed to help our units remain relevant and trained and ready to help support our country," said Lesniak.