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This week in history - from The Arlington Times archives

10 Years Ago 1997

Approximately 25 people who own businesses on Olympic and West Avenues gathered at City Hall last Friday morning to discuss the possibility of forming a self-assessing Business Improvement Association (BIA). The BIA is one of several subcommittees of the Downtown Advisory Committee, which was reactivated last fall by Arlingtons Director of Planning and Community Development, John Burkholder. Three business owners/managers have stepped forward to co-chair the BIA committee. They are Julie Tate of Julies Barber and Styling, Julie Nelson of Arlington Escrow, and Nancy Fissenden of C. Don Filer Insurance. Co-chair Fissenden said that she was willing to do the job because she would like to see the people come together and make it work. We have to work together so it wont fizzle out, she said. Fissenden has been manager of C. Don Filer insurance for seven years. This is her first attempt at getting involved here in town, she said. The BIA would be a non-501 C3-type nonprofit organization with the purpose of collecting money from members to support projects that would promote and enhance business in the downtown area. The lifespan of a BIA depends on what the group decides they want to accomplish. The structure and function of BIAs are defined by state guidelines. The guidelines specify that the first step in creating a BIA is to identify the projects to be funded, explained Marcia Smothers. Business owners themselves would establish the rate of assessment, according to what projects they decide to tackle. BIA members could also work with volunteer grant writers as an alternate source of funding, said Smothers. Smothers, manager of Everett Mutual Bank, is a long-time activist in efforts to improve Arlingtons downtown business. Dale was a member of Arlington Business and Community Development Board in the early 1990s and is also a past chamber president. Though specific projects would be identified by the membership, some examples were presented. Possible projects of a BIA could be the installation of maps on the Centennial Trail when it arrives in town, identifying businesses in the downtown corridor, the purchase and development of parking areas, support for businesses to make building improvements in the form of low interest or no interest loans, recruit new businesses, install signage on I-5, or publish fliers to encourage suburban residents to shop in Arlington. Those attending the meeting were an apprehensive bunch. As a result of seeing many committees come and go through the years, the business owners and managers had a lot of questions about why this BIA might work, when none of the previous efforts did. Concerns ranged from why are there so darn many committees and what is the difference between an LID and a BIA to how can we avoid duplication of efforts. Several people asked why the Chamber of Commerce doesnt take on these projects. Another person who has been involved with many of the efforts to improve downtown business through the years is George Boulton. Though he is not in charge of this effort, he does have some experience to share. Boulton attributed the lack of success of previous efforts to a lack of commitment and involvement by all merchants. We cant sit back and let the chamber do this. We cant expect John Burkholder to carry the momentum, said Boulton. We simply need the involvement and commitment of all merchants, he said.

25 Years Ago 1982

An alternative school for dropouts is being studied by the Arlington School Board. At the school boards meeting, school district superintendent Richard Post presented the board with an alternative school proposal that would help dropout students work their way back into the Arlington school system. The proposal is an idea of Dave Wood, director of the Turning Point Boys Home located in Arlington Heights. For a year Wood has been studying the possibility of opening a private school on his 10-acre property. His study proved the biggest educational need is a school for students unable to make it in the public school system. The alternative school would be separate from both the boys home and the Arlington School District. The district would help support the school by paying a fee for each student from the district that volunteers to join the alterative school. Kids just couldnt elect to go, Post said about joining the school. A screening process would be setup to determine what students are eligible by standards formulated by the school district. It is estimated that 30 kids are eligible from the Arlington School District. Woods goal is to straighten the kids out and have them return to the Arlington school system. Post and Wood will continue to work on the proposal, then if an agreement is worked out, the board must make final approval.

50 Years Ago 1957

It is getting to be a habit. For the second straight week the name of a mystery farm resident was drawn from those entering correct identifications of the weeks farm. The winner proved to be Mr. Wilbert Strotz, son of the farms owner, who will receive his choice of a re-capped tire or a $30 on a set of new tires from O.K. Rubber welders, an Arlington tire shop owned by Vern Tingley. There were 56 correct answers in last weeks contest. The Strotz farm, one of the oldest and largest dairy farms in the area, has been in the family for 79 years since the fall day in 1878 when Andrew Strotz, a 22-year-old German emigrant, staked out 160 acres of virgin cedar along the Stillaguamish. Strotz built a small cabin and packed his supplies in on his back, according to an historical account in a Snohomish County history reference. He built a second house in 1889, of split cedar, and five years later completed a large split-cedar barn, which still serves the dairy for hay storage and housing young stock. The barn stands at least 40 feet high, and will easily store 250 tons of baled hay. For that project, Strotz was able to enlist the help of a pioneer millwright, Harry Hunter, whose son is a well-known feed dealer in Arlington. Though there is no remaining record, we assume a crew was recruited to hew and raise the principal supporting timbers, as the barn was unusually large for the time. By 1883, good land along the river was getting scarce, and when 17-year-old Severt Engeseth and Mrw. O. K. Husby arrived on the scene a bargain was struck with Mr. Strotz. Clear an acre for me, and get an acre for yourself. Engeseth out-cleared Husby, 22 acres to 20 acres, in what might be called a pioneer FFA project. Engeseth later forsook the farm for the Klondike Rush where he is reported to have been One of those on whom fortune smiled. We assume he struck gold, for he was able to return to Norway and later retrace his adventurous footsteps to the Stillaguamish country but that is another story. With the coming of the railroad, the dairy business came into its own. Andrew Strotz soon developed a good herd, but his eye was always on the wheat he planted in one corner of the land. Perhaps the pioneering spirit was too much a part of his makeup. At any rate, he tore up roots in later years, and moved his family to Eastern Washington and the great wheat ranching country. Fortunately, he never sold out the homestead, leasing it for some 20 years, while he battled drought, hail and insects trying for bumper wheat crops in southern Yakima county. Those were the days of steam threshers and twelve-horse combines. Finally, seven successive years of heart-breaking crop failure convinced the elder Strotz that he should return to the green, valley homestead, which he did in 1918. Of the five children of Andrew and Margarette Strotz, William was the one who stayed on the home farm, purchasing it from his mother in 1922. The milking parlor at the William Strotz farm today easily accommodates the 52 to 55 head of cows normally milking. Gone are the days of cramped fingers and long hours on the milk stool, which turned ones mind to wheat farming. Everything is sparkling clean, silent, automatic even the cows stand without bawling. There are no flies to swat, no foot in the milk bucket, none of the old time fuss at milking time.

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