State of the State (Avenue) not so good, but just wait

MARYSVILLE – The city wants to find out from residents the State of the State Avenue.

At a public meeting Tuesday night at City Hall, a city consultant compared it to mixing a show horse, race horse and a work horse in that it should be attractive, make room for more people and support development.

About 20 people gave their input on what they would like Marysville’s main north-south thoroughfare to look like in the future. They weren’t impressed at all at what it looks like now. A similar event will take place July 17.

An overall consensus was that businesses and residences on State Avenue now need to show more pride of ownership. A little paint and some planter boxes would be a nice start.

“There should be incentives to encourage stuff to happen,” said John Owen, a consultant for the city.

He explained that many cities in this area were developed along highways, rather than having true downtowns. So there is little connection between residential and business areas. It needs to be friendlier and safer, he said. He also said some parts of the road are worth saving. “You don’t have to change it all,” he said.

He recommended sprucing up areas where Community Transit plans to put bus stops in the next decade. As more people move in and development occurs, CT plans to have a Swift bus route along State. Attendees said there needs to be bus pullouts and covered seating in those areas.

Owen said Marysville will need to increase residential neighborhoods in the future, so it has to figure out the best way to do that. Driveways need to be taken off State and put on side streets to reduce accidents, he added. He said guidelines need to be established, such as for landscaping requirements. “What’s it going to look and feel like?” he asked.

Owen acknowledged that change takes time. “Things don’t happen overnight,” he said, adding Lake City Way and Highway 99 at Shoreline are examples of planned transformations. The attendees were asked what they think of State in general. Comments included: hodgepodge, too much concrete, dirty, ugly storefronts and lack of landscaping.

As for what they would like to see, responses included: consistency, high end apartments and condominiums to provide a customer base for nearby businesses, trees that buffer the tracks, cottage housing and townhouses, and businesses in front with parking behind.

Angela Gemmer, a senior planner, opened the meeting by talking about a survey done previously regarding State that included 176 responses.

Some of the added concerns expressed in that survey include: better traffic flow, walkability and fewer panhandlers.

In that survey, Gilmore said people liked the decorative lighting, Comeford and Spray parks and the connectivity of the road. They want to preserve Third Street and the small-town charm.

They would like to see more diverse retail, quality dining, parks, local shops, cafes and coffee shops. They liked the idea of a real downtown like Arlington, Snohomish, Edmonds and Mill Creek.

Just like in most surveys, some of the responses were hard to comprehend.

Asked what they want to see less of, the top two answers in the survey were commercial and residential, which are the only two options.

Gemmer said when that happens they just have to toss them out and look at the other answers, which included: auto dealers, empty buildings, strip malls and smoke shops.

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