Arlington community members will be helping to assemble a plan and direction for the city’s historic downtown corridor throughout this year.
Western Washington University staff and students are facilitating the process of forming a strategic plan for downtown Arlington and the first community workshop was held at the Downtown Arlington Business Association’s meeting on Oct. 2.
The second workshop will be for the general community and will be held on Nov. 14 at the Haller Middle School commons at 6 p.m.
“We want to get an collaborative vision or the downtown,” said Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert at the Oct. 2 meeting.
The Olympic Avenue corridor is one of the more iconic and traveled parts of the town, she said.
“We all know that this the heart and soul of our town,” said Tolbert.
“We know that we need to have a long-term plan for downtown,” she added.
Throughout the process Tolbert said she hopes to hear from everyone about ideas where the downtown Arlington area can go.
“We want to hear from the community. From the building owners and business owners, to the people who love to come down here and shop during events,” she said.
The first part of the process is simply taking in ideas about what people would like to see in the downtown Arlington area.
“We want to get a really good sense of Arlington as a community, to understand what’s here now and what you want as a community. So we’ll take the assets you have now and think through how to get some of these things,” said Tammi Laninga, assistant professor at Western Washington University, at the Oct. 2 meeting.
Local community members and DABA officials came up with a variety of ideas about what they would like to see in the downtown.
Some of those suggestions included more family activities, health-focused activities like an outdoor basketball tournament, more restaurants like a bakery and an ice cream shop, infrastructure improvements such as more public restrooms, and to maintain the historic feel of the downtown area.
More ideas will be gathered at the Nov. 14 meeting.
“Feel free to come again, add anything else you think of,” said Barbara Coe, adjunct faculty at Western Washington University.
“It will feed into the next steps and we appreciated your hard work and great ideas,” she said.
There is also a plan for a virtual bulletin board put up where people can post their ideas online, she said.
“We will get that up soon,” Coe said.
After the ideas are collected, the facilitators will begin to work with them.
“Winter quarter we’ll look at taking ideas from this studio and turning them into conceptual ideas and designs,” said Laninga.
Further meetings will help refine those designs and concepts.
“You’ll have opportunities to give a thumbs up or thumbs down, let us know if it’s great or if it’s never going to work,” she said.
Finally, toward the end of the school year they hope to pare those designs into a strategic plan with directions that the city can take.
“We’ll figure out how you make it happen and look at your design and land use codes,” said Laninga.
“We’ll look at funding sources such as things that come from the state and other funds to pay for those, especially some of those infrastructure things which can be pretty expensive,” she said.
Updates to the downtown corridor plan project will be found at the city of Arlington’s website at arlingtonwa.gov/downtownplan.