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Mville hosts UW branch campus meeting

With only a few weeks left until consultants and the governors selection committee make their recommendation to state legislators, local officials and residents still have at least one more chance to make the case for a new University of Washington campus coming to Marysville.
The states site selection committee plans a Town Hall meeting for 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30 in the Marysville-Pilchuck High School Auditorium, 5611 108th St. NE.
According to a number of sources, in the course of that meeting the city may want to put an emphasis on facts and figures over cheerleading. Deb Merle, a higher education policy advisor to Gov. Christine Gregoire, and others said Marysville was well represented at a site committee Town Hall meeting held in Everett earlier this month.
Everett also is in the running for the new campus, but plenty of Marysville supporters showed up at the Town Hall session there wearing T-shirts proclaiming what should be the now familiar slogan Real Huskies Go North (of Everett.) Merle said a couple of Marysville residents even brought a few actual Huskies not students, but of the four-legged variety to the meeting. While she didnt discourage residents and others from showing their enthusiasm for the potential project, she said that brand of promotion is not likely to carry a lot of weight with the selection committee.
There is no criteria for how many people are wearing T-shirts, Merle said.
The criteria that does interest the selection committee, she added, includes things such as the availability of transportation, public utilities and affordable housing, among other issues.
Marysville Planning Commission member Becky Foster said the citys contingent at the Everett meeting really didnt get a chance to make their case. Besides serving on the planning commission, Foster is a member of the UW North Tri-County Coalition promoting Marysville to the University of Washington.
I believe people were really not on task, Foster said in regard to the Marysville supporters at the Everett meeting.
No one expects the site selection committee to make their decision based on cheerleading, added Charla Neuman, vice-president of Strategies 360, the public relations consultants hired by Marysville to promote the city to both the selection committee and the state legislature. The latter has the last word on where the new campus will sit.
With the help of city officials and others, Neuman promised the presentation on Tuesday will include plenty of facts and figures.
This will be less about how great the city is. The substance will be delivered as well as the excitement, she said.
Neuman said she and some local officials still are upset Tuesdays meeting represents the first public visit of the selection committee to Marysville.
I think its really, really unfortunate the selection committee waited this long to meet with the community, she added.
Still, Neuman said city officials have met privately with Merle and members of the selection committee. She also argued neither Tuesdays meeting nor the coming recommendation of the site selection committee represent anything like the end of the site selection process.
There is a long road ahead, Neuman said, noting as did Merle that state legislators will have the final say on the location of the new campus. The site selection committee is expected to make their recommendation to legislators Nov. 15. But Merle said those legislators obviously are free to debate or even ignore what the selection committee has to say.
While Neuman talked about promoting substance over cheerleading, she also didnt discourage residents from showing up Tuesday and voicing their support.
It certainly doesnt cause any harm, Neuman said.
She also pointed out the Town Hall meetings have several purposes outside of officials and residents wooing the selection committee. Most notably, Neuman said its a chance for both officials, and especially the public, to find out about the selection process first hand and learn what a new Husky campus might mean for the community.

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