Traffic key issue as Marysville could vote Monday on MIC

MARYSVILLE – When it comes to adding 20,000 jobs in the Marysville-Arlington area over the next 20 years one concern that comes to mind immediately is transportation. What needs to be done to keep that from becoming a traffic nightmare?

That is one issue addressed in the Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center sub-area plan recently approved by the Arlington City Council. The Marysville City Council began discussing it as Monday’s work session. The goal of the plan is to provide a road map for investments. Once Marysville approves it, the plan would go to the Puget Sound Regional Council for official designation, which would help attract tenants to the site.

The council was told that 2,291 acres of the plan are in Arlington and 1,728 acres in Marysville. It runs roughly from 126th in Marysville to 210th in Arlington.

Regarding transportation, the plan discusses $175 million in road improvements that would help the flow of traffic, including a new intersection at Interstate 5 and 156th. State Department of Transportation would fund that project and two others, at a cost of around $40 million apiece. Arlington and Marysville would pay for the rest. Some costs could be recouped from developers through various fees.

Other efforts to help with transportation include: discouraging single drivers, mass transit, and bicycle and pedestrian paths. The plan states that 45 percent of workers in the MIC will live within 10 miles because of affordable housing in the area.

Other things that make the site attractive for an MIC include: buffer from residential areas; access to regional transportation; an existing cluster of aerospace businesses; Arlington airport; and expansion at Paine Field in south Everett.

Along with aerospace, other desired industry would be advanced manufacturing, food processing, maritime and wood products. All development would be done with careful consideration to utilities and the environment, such as wetlands and fish.

Marysville planning director Dave Koenig said discussions are under way with a number of businesses. For example, he said Washington State University is interested in a food processing learning center at the Port of Everett. That could lead to a similar facility at the MIC where its graduates could get jobs. City Councilman Stephen Muller said with Paine Field growing so quickly that could mean faster growth at this MIC.

Koenig said he hopes the council will approve the plan Monday night. The goal is to have the PSRC’s designation by June. The only other MIC in the county is at Paine Field. “It’s important to try to preserve this industrial land for the long-term economic health of the region,” Koenig said, adding places for manufacturing have been used up south of here.

In other news at Monday’s work session:

•Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima said the council could vote as early as Monday on sending a measure to the April 23 ballot on formation of a Regional Fire Authority. The tax would be $1.45 per $1,000 valuation.

•Parks director Jim Ballew talked about amending a lease with the Marysville Little League for the use of Cedar Field. The change would allow the city to put in lights and turf on the field for about $600,000 after Little League ends in July and before fall league starts in September. The city is asking the state for grant money, but the governor only has $4 million in that budget, and there are $60 million in requests, Ballew said. •The council discussed vacating streets west of Comeford Park to allow construction of the new Civic Campus. A public hearing is likely to take place Feb. 11.

•Ballew said at the Tour of Lights in December the average attendance was 467 people a night, but two nights were canceled due to bad weather. He also said at Cedarcrest Golf Course last year business was up 24 percent.

•Police Chief Rick Smith said an agreement with Whatcom County for jail inmate transports will decrease in cost from $48,000 to $28,000 a year.

•Fire Chief Martin McFalls said its budget is increasing 10 percent, allowing the hiring of 10 new firefighters by mid-year.

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