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Transportation is citys top priority in 2007
TULALIP While the city is booming economically, transportation problems are going to be Marysvilles number one priority for 2007, according to Mayor Dennis Kendalls State of the City address.
Speaking to a packed room at the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce meeting on Jan. 26, Kendall said Marysville is looking for new and unique funding for new roads to beef up the grid. The city has hired several new engineers and has reorganized the citys engineering department to keep cars moving on city streets.
The city has also hired a lobbyist to plead its case in the state capitol and is working with other elected officials to free up money from other sources, Kendall said. In the mean time the city will dedicate the new sales tax receipts and taxes on new construction to new roads and bridges.
We know that funding comes from Olympia as well as the federal government, Kendall said. The council is stepping up.
He noted several projects completed or slated for work this year, namely widening projects to State Avenue and 116th Street NE. For the next year 88th Street NE will be extended east bound to Getchell Hill with a gentler seven percent grade for the new Ingraham Boulevard, compared to the current steeper grade on 84th Street NE. A rail road crossing for the Lakewood area should siphon off some of the traffic plaguing the new Costco and Target stores, and the city will spend $1 million for road paving and maintenance.
Weve been running lean and mean, Kendall said.
While the city saw several new retailers open last year, the next phase on his plate will be developing the Smokey Point gap, a 687-acre plot of land the city will annex soon. That land will be the home of light industrial and commercial business, with family wage jobs.
That location is the key to our economic development in the future, Kendall said. That will be our employment center.
Annexations have stretched the citys resources, particularly police and transportation and Kendall conceded there have been other challenges as well. The citys 387 acres of parks have been neglected as money has been shuffled to deal with eminent problems and he pledged to fix that.
Well be doing some major work, Kendall said.
The city will be building about 10 gateways to establish the Marysville identity at crucial entry points, and Kendall noted the graffiti and vandalism plaguing his town. He said he heard the results of the chamber poll regarding steps the city is considering to limit the access to spray paint and other items used to tag buildings. It is an expensive problem and members will have to work together to solve it, he stressed.
A community that is prosperous and livable just doesnt happen, Kendall said. It takes you.
Kendall was peppered with questions after the speech for half-an-hour, most members asking about roads, recreation opportunities, and a four-year-college. He was asked about the citys older retail core just north of Ebey Slough and what the city is doing to help.
A $130,000 downtown plan is being formulated and much of the renovation or gentrification will be done by developers looking to profit by investing in the improved retail core.
Its a slow process, Kendall said, estimating three to five years before any concrete changes are seen. Were working as hard as we can at bringing some business into that area.
One member asked what is the use of widening State Avenue to three or five lanes in the citys northern stretch if the Quilceda Creek crossing is going to remain a two-lane choke point at 100th Street NE. Kendall said the city is working with government agencies over what is needed to cross the salmon-bearing stream. The city thinks the creek can be crossed with a culvert costing $3 million to $4 million while others demand a $25 million bridge. Any solution is at least five to 10 years down the line, Kendall said.
Ray Phillips asked the question about the culvert and felt Kendall blew him off by sidestepping his question. He wasnt happy about Marysville roads.
If weve got all this growth here it should be accommodated, Phillips said.
Diane Dixon owns an auto shop in the middle of town on Smokey Point Boulevard and felt Kendall did a little dancing as well by skewing his answers too flexible timeframe where she sought more solid estimates.
I thought it was interesting to find out what was coming up many years in the future, Dixon laughed, noting that she was mostly interested in road improvements for her stretch of road north of 136th Street NE and would like to hear an update at least twice a year.
It was nice to know the timeframe that was coming up, Dixon said. I thought it was useful and informative to know what was it coming up in my city,
Steve Ahmann owns the Pacific Power and Batteries empire and wanted to know about more recreation opportunities in town, after getting some laughs with a jab asking Kendall to make sure Marysville doesnt start looking like Lynnwood.
I think the mayors response was great, Ahmann said, referring to Kendalls comment that the only place to ride a bike on State Avenue is on the sidewalk. Like Kendall, Ahmann wants more bike and pedestrian friendly areas in town and he liked Kendalls answer.
I think the mayor was very responsive to it, Ahmann said. I thought that was really keen of him to say that.