By Barb Tolbert
Arlington enjoys a vibrant downtown business core with a variety of merchandise and services available to residents, the greater Stillaguamish Valley and visitors.
The city has worked hard the last several years to revitalize downtown. In partnership with the Downtown Arlington Business Association (DABA) and the
Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce, we have organized, hosted and supported dozens of events that draw both residents and visitors to our charming downtown. We have installed art work, seasonal banners and flowers, repaved the city-owned merchants parking lot, installed restrooms at Legion Park, installed lighting on street trees, and are working to develop restrooms and a pocket park in connection with the Innovation Center. Our partnerships with the DABA, the Stilly chamber and the Northwest Innovation Center (NWIRC) have provided free training opportunities for our
business owners that have focused on growing small businesses and marketing.
Downtown anchor stores such as Action Sports, Flowers by George, The Blue Bird Cafe, The Stilly Diner, Bistro San Martin, Arlington Hardware and Arlington Pharmacy continue to be the commercial hub of downtown. These and other businesses, along with public investments, have encouraged the growth of businesses such as the Garden Center at Arlington Co-Op and have spurred the opening of new businesses such as Centennial Bar & Grill, Hometown Candle Co., Moe’s on Olympic, Moe’s Lounge, Ava Rose, Nostalgia and Stilly Valley Collective (co-working space) in existing storefronts. In early October there were just three vacant storefronts on Olympic Avenue and no vacancies in storefronts on West Avenue. Our new and existing businesses have grown because of the support local residents have of their hometown merchants through their purchases. Your display of those purchases in your homes and businesses, and on social media, have made Arlington a destination for visitors to also invest in our downtown.
Still, we desire to develop a strategic long-term plan that achieves retaining the character of the downtown, identifying improvements, capitalizing on the Centennial Trail, expanding the physical main street area, utilizing main street programs, and identifying smart-growth initiatives.
The city is contracting with Western Washington University Sustainable Communities program to develop a plan for the future of our treasured downtown.
We invite you to join us and share your ideas for downtown Arlington. Imagine the downtown of the future, one that continues to provide opportunities as a civic and economic center. What does this look like for you? A workshop has been scheduled to gather community input Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at Haller Middle School, 600 E. First St.
You can also share ideas on the city’s webpage on the Downtown Corridor Sustainability Plan at www.arlingtonwa.gov/downtownplan. Additional opportunities for comments will be provided throughout development of the plan.
If you have any questions about the study, contact Sarah Lopez at 360-403-3448 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barb Tolbert is the mayor of Arlington, which has a monthly column in this newspaper.