North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Cities receive grant for industrial center


October 4, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

The north Marysville/Smokey Point area has a lot of empty land and car sales locations currently but local officials hope it can become a manufacturing and industrial center.

Marysville and Arlington received a total of $100,000 in grant funding to finish more work around their planned Manufacturing and Industrial Center near Smokey Point and north Marysville.

Local officials hope that industrial and manufacturing businesses will come to the area and provide good jobs for locals after it receives a "Manufacturing and Industrial Center" designation, which this grant is supposed to assist in doing.

The grant from the Community Economic Revitalization Board awarded $50,000 to each city to plan more around the area.

"We will use this in a collaborative process to plan for infrastructure in the area," said Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert.

She said that they will be working with Marysville officials to plan around the area and how the two cities should handle potential incoming businesses and growth.

"We're combining our money to plan what we want to do with this space," said Tolbert.

"This allows us to put on paper the best way to get the jobs we want," said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring. "We're excited about it."

The 4,000 acres of land designated for industry is the second-largest area in Snohomish County.

About 57 percent of that land is in Arlington. About 44 percent still has the capacity for additional development.

The Puget Sound Regional Council has the power to designate areas as Manufacturing and Industrial Centers, and having a master plan like this grant is funding, helps an area receive that designation.

"This is just one more piece of the puzzle that we need for this to come together," said Tolbert.

"It just further enhances our plan to get an MIC [Manufacturing Industrial Center] designation," said Nehring.

The designation is important because it makes the area more competitive for federal dollars for roads and other improvements.

"There will be a lot of funding for infrastructure that will be available from places that we haven't had before if we get that designation," said Tolbert.

Because of the additional funds available, that designation attracts businesses as well.

"If we were able to designate this an Manufacturing Industrial Center it would really put it on he map," said Nehring. "That designation, in and of itself, is a marketing tool in that it makes the area more attractive to businesses."

The Puget Sound Regional Council is likely to take a vote on the designation next year, according to Nehring, who said he is "cautiously optimistic."

"I think it will happen. I was at a Puget Sound Regional Council meeting recently and they seem to be coming to a consensus," said Tolbert.

Local officials will have to demonstrate a number of things about the area, including that it has the capability to bring in thousands of jobs, that it is ready for those jobs, and that officials have planned for incoming growth.

The two cities now have a greater ability to plan and study the area because of the grant, which "lines up really well with getting that designation," said Nehring.

Nehring hopes that Marysville can bring more family-wage jobs to the city with the center.

"Our motto is live, work, play," he said, "and we have lots of recreational opportunity and lots of good communities, but for the work portion we hear that people need to be able to have a family-wage job here."

The city has a reputation of being a bedroom community because of that.

"Even with all the great recreation you may not get to enjoy it all if you're spending an hour on the freeway commuting to work," he said.

Tolbert said that the area is important as a way to manage growth in the area and provide jobs where the community has "places where people can continue to build things."

"You always want to see good jobs be available in your city," she said. Recently Arlington has been working on opportunities for youth to get training or get into manufacturing.

"We don't want to see all our young people move away because there are no family-wage jobs available to them here," said Tolbert

She said it was important for a city to have a good amount of both housing and jobs. "It's always important for a city to have balance as it grows," she said.

You don't want too many jobs or you won't have anyone living in the city, and if you have too many houses the majority of your residents will have to commute, she said.

Nehring and Tolbert said that the area near I-5 has drawn the interest of other groups, like those who would want to build houses, but they have been reserving the space for manufacturing.

"The goal is to bring family-wage jobs so that people can both live and work in Arlington," said Tolbert.


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