Manufacturing center key for M’ville in ‘17, mayor says

MARYSVILLE – Looking ahead to 2017, Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring is most excited about the Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center, which could provide 10,000 jobs for the area.

Nehring said this could be the year that the Puget Sound Regional Council OKs the project, which has been in the works for three years. “We have an above-average chance” of approval, he said.

The mayor said infrastructure is taking shape for the area. A stormwater pond, public utility district substation, the widening of 172nd and the 156th interchange in 2025 are done or in the works.

Nehring said his vision is for residents to “live, work and play” in the community. He goes back to 2001 when he ran for City Council and was told while going door to door that people wanted more commercial, especially restaurants, so they didn’t have to go to Everett or further south to shop and eat.

“We want convenience of service in our own community,” he said they told him, adding that certainly has happened.

He also said, “Parks are at the top of their game,” adding to the town’s quality of life. He specifically mentioned the Spray Park and Opera House providing low-cost or free events.

But the one thing still lacking in Marysville is family wage jobs. Most of the new jobs are service-related. “We’re still a bedroom community,” he said.

If the industrial center happens, that doesn’t necessarily mean new people coming here. People living here now could get higher-paying jobs and not have to commute to work.

“That means more time with the family and community,” lower expenses and taking traffic off the freeway, he said. “We’re not importing people to Marysville,” but providing good jobs for college graduates and young families. “They can have great careers in their own community.”

Nehring is also excited about the south end of town, laying the groundwork for the Highway 529 bypass in 2019. Specifically, Third Street roadwork will be done, and a similar project on First Street will begin. Also, the trails in the Qwuoolt Estury will be finished.

Those projects are part of downtown revitalization. “They will make it more walkable and beautify it,” he said, adding he hopes the city will expand that area even more with a park to spark ecotourism.

Before the park expands, funding for a new Public Safety Building needs to be approved. Staff is working on cutting the costs of a consultant’s recommendation.

“There were some bells and whistles,” the mayor said. He mentioned the kitchen and dining area. “This isn’t for long-term enjoyment,” he said.

Nehring said inmates can only be housed there for up to 90 days. He also said the consultant’s recommendation was too big. Projecting out up to 30 years, he said they only need about 40 beds a day.

As part of that, the city needs to decide if a fire station would be part of a new safety building. That certainly would be part of the discussions involving Regional Fire Authority talks between Marysville, Arlington and Fire District 12.

Regarding city departments, Nehring said Marysville cut 10 percent of its staff during the recession. “We’ve done more with less, but we’re trying to add back responsibly,” he said.

The mayor said every year the city hires a few more officers to try to keep pace with growth. Community Development is another department in need to staff. “We need to get permits through,” he said.

One thing Nehring appreciates about city staff is its experience. “It’s critical” to the city’s success, he said, adding, “You lose that on the day to day.”

For example, there have been no problems with audits in the city for years. A veteran-laden staff is key to that, he said. “People want to stay here,” Nehring said.

Beyond 2017, Nehring said he has hopes of one day connecting the Bayview Trail to the Centennial Trail. Regional and state grants could be possible for that project.

Another long-term “dream” of his is to add synthetic turf to Strawberry Fields and Cedar Field so sports could be played year-round. Nehring said tournament-level facilities bring in tourism dollars. “There’s just a lot going on,” he said.

MIC at a glance

•25,000 jobs by 2040

•High rents elsewhere, demand for industrial space, could lead business here

•156th St. NE was extended east of Smokey Point Blvd. for a new 115-bed behavioral health facility, opening up access to undeveloped land.

•That road will be further developed at 51st north to a new 160th St. NE, which returns to the boulevard.

•A tax break has been OK’d for businesses that land here, as long as they meet certain conditions.