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

Committee focuses on drug, homelessness issues

 

December 6, 2017 | View PDF



Arlington, Marysville and local businesses are working together in a new Smokey Point Business Committee to combat homelessness and drug abuse issues in the Smokey Point area.

Business leaders from Lakewood and Smokey Point met with local officials for the first meeting of the committee in November.

Local officials started the group because many businesses felt “there was a need to communicate with both Arlington and Marysville about the issues with the homelessness and crime in the area,” said Sarah Lopez, community revitalization project manager for the city of Arlington.

Lopez said that the city limit line between Arlington and Marysville cuts through the Smokey Point area, so both cities and both police departments have an effect on the crime in the area.

Marysville Police department’s Northern Lights program is one effort from the department to improve the Lakewood area.

“One of the things we’ve noticed since we started the Northern Lights initiative is that a lot of the issues are moving to the east side of the freeway into Arlington,” said Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith.

However, Smith said their focus as a department is to decrease crime, not simply move it around.

The end goal “is to get to the root cause,” he said.

“Having the businesses be a part of the strategy helps us address the crime and the homelessness,” he said.

He hopes that by bringing in more community voices from the Smokey Point area they will be able to decrease that crime.

“We wanted to partner with the business community,” he said. “We want to listen to what our residents say.”

Tyler Anderson, owner and operator of the Lakewood Outback Steakhouse restaurant, said he is involved in the committee because he hopes to improve the area.

“I wanted to be able to better our community,” he said. “Especially this area which is sort of a mix of Arlington and Marysville."

Anderson said that because Lakewood and Smokey Point are a mix of Marysville and Arlington jurisdictions there hasn’t been one solitary group to look over the interests.

“Hopefully we can work together to improve the homeless and transient issues that we have here,” he said.

Smith said that community partners are helpful in that they understand what is going on in their area.

“Police can’t be there 24/7,” said Smith, “so businesses are our eyes and ears and they are good source of intelligence to what is going on in the area.”

The first meeting of the committee included officials from both cities and the businesses in the area.

“I think it went really well. There was a large turnout of business leaders and both the mayors were there,” said Anderson.

Smith said that both Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring and Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert have bene working to get the local businesses on board.

“They really get a lot of credit for working with the businesses and pulling them in,” he said.

During the meeting, local police officers talked about the current initiatives in place, said Lopez.

“They were all very happy to hear about the things we’ve already begun to start and the history of the things that have already happened for the area,” she said.

Smokey Point and Lakewood businesses are still invited to be part of future meetings of the group.

“If businesses want to join, contact me and I’ll add them to the email list,” said Lopez. Sarah Lopez can be contacted at slopez@arlingtonwa.gov.

 

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