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Mayor gives State of City speech
MARYSVILLE As he gets his second term in office underway, Mayor Dennis Kendall said there is little doubt as to the number one issue on his mind: Traffic.
In fact, Kendall went so far as to name traffic or transportation as not only his first, but also his second and third priorities.
Kendall made his comments during the mayors annual State of the City speech, this year given last week to the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce.
But if traffic is paramount, Kendall also talked a lot about bringing new retail and business to the city, the coming annexation of Marysvilles Urban Growth Area and continued cooperation between Marysville and the Tulalip Tribes.
Looking back on 2007, Kendall touched first, not surprisingly, on a couple of road projects designed to ease traffic congestion in the city.
Kendall specifically mentioned the widening of 116th Street NE to five lanes between I-5 and State Avenue. He also hit on the on-going efforts to revamp SR 528. Finally, Kendall touted what he called an aggressive $1 million asphalt overlay and road maintenance program taken on by the city.
Still on the subject of traffic, Kendall said Marysville and perhaps the entire region is a bit behind the times. Last year, when voters rejected the roughly $18 billion RTID package aimed at roads and transportation, they left a lot of potential road projects unfunded, Kendall added. He continued that cities such as Marysville are scrambling to find roadwork dollars.
Well just do it, as they say, shovel by shovel, truck by truck, until we get something done, Kendall said, adding that, realistically, Marysvilles traffic problems are not going to go away overnight.
Funding problems aside, Kendall did mention several projects that are on the horizon. One will see a widening of State Avenue between 136th and 152nd streets. Kendall reported that work should start in the spring. Elsewhere, the city has $850,000 committed to continuation of its asphalt repair work.
As far as building new business and retail in the city, Kendall talked a lot about the Lakewood Crossing Shopping Plaza. While recent times have seen the opening of anchor stores such as Best Buy and Office Depot, the future should bring perhaps most noticeably a new I-Hop restaurant.
We will still continue to grow, just not as at fast a pace as we were, Kendall said.
Regarding the citys Urban Growth Area, as he has in the past, Kendall said annexing the area simply makes sense financially. The move could increase Marysvilles population by some 20,000, up from its current mark of 36,210.
But Kendall said the city already provides the growth area with nearly all of the routine municipal services. Because the area is unincorporated, however, Marysville loses out on state sales tax collections. Thanks to a 2006 state law, Kendall said that every time a citys population jumps by 10,000 or more, that city gets to keep an additional percentage of the sales taxes collected within its borders, money that would otherwise head to Olympia.
During his roughly 45 minute talk, Kendall touched on several additional issues. He said the well-publicized efforts to bring a branch campus of the University of Washington to Marysville will continue. He talked about looking at consolidating various city departments and buildings into one campus, either near Comeford Park or on downtown property already owned by the city.
In answering a question from the audience, Kendall said the Comeford Park location would not infringe on the park itself.
Another planning effort Kendall mentioned looks to revamp the citys downtown. With City Council approval, the administration recently hired design consultants Makers Inc., to complete a study of the downtown strip.
People sometimes say, Well, youre going to plan it to death, Kendall said, responding to another audience question.
But he added Marysvilles downtown is an aging, unique area with some critical problems. One is excess groundwater, which may or may not lead consultants to recommend opening a culverted stream running through the area.
Kendall ended his formal comments by saying he hoped to see continued cooperation between Marysville and the Tulalip Tribes.
What affects the Tribes affects Marysville and what affects Marysville affects the Tribes, he said. The comment did not fall on deaf ears.
We like the collaborative approach, said the Tribes Marilyn Sheldon. We definitely appreciate that.
Im just really excited about whats going on in Marysville, City Councilwoman Carmen Rasmussen said in reaction to Kendalls speech.
Were pretty enthusiastic about what we accomplished in 07 and were really looking forward to another good year, added Councilman John Soriano.