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Cities, Tulalip Tribes join for economic summit
TULALIP — “There’s a lot of good information and good vibrations here today,” said Mel Sheldon Jr., chair of the Tulalip Tribes, to the crowd in the Tulalip Resort’s Orca Ballroom. “The goal and desire that we all share in common is to better our communities and our county.”
Those words helped open the North Snohomish County Community Partners Economic Development Summit between the Tulalip Tribes and the cities of Marysville and Arlington on May 25, as those jurisdictions teamed up with Strategies 360 to discuss how cooperative planning between them can help lead the way to economic recovery for all of them.
“There’s a lot of growth already happening in North Snohomish County,” Sheldon said. “The question is how we can capitalize on it best.”
Bob Drewel, executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council, echoed Sheldon’s praise for Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring and Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson as helping to create and foster productive partnerships between the communities.
“The important step now is to formalize these partnerships and give structure to our delivery systems,” Drewel said. “That will make us more attractive to businesses.”
Drewel acknowledged the positive economic impact to the area of Boeing’s recently secured tanker contract with the Air Force, but he went on describe North Snohomish County as already being a leader in the fields of aerospace and health care, due in part to the Arlington Municipal Airport and the Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinics. He likewise noted the Tulalip Tribes’ recent donation of $1.26 million to the Marysville School District to help offset state budget cuts.
Nehring credited past leaders such as former Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall with forging many of the partnerships that he sees as still bearing fruit, and reiterated his pledge to help transform north Marysville into a home for manufacturing and light-industrial jobs through measures such as an over-crossing at 156th Street.
“This area is a hidden jewel,” Nehring said.
Larson explained that she already meets with Nehring once a month, so that they can catch up on the doings of each other’s cities.
“Arlington is a full-service city,” Larson said. “Cascade Valley recently completely an $85 million expansion, and the airport draws 50,000 people to its Fly-In each year. There are 130 businesses at the airport alone. Every time I take a tour of the town, I find things that even I hadn’t known about.”