Even before I became mayor 11 years ago, city leaders and staff began the very long process of gaining a regional designation for our manufacturing industrial area. Last week, I was excited to join other Snohomish County leaders when the Puget Sound Regional Council executive board unanimously approved that designation for the Cascade Industrial Center. The CIC, formerly known as the Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center, is a 4,000-acre area in north Marysville and south Arlington. The CIC’s mix of a large amount of developable property, proximity to transportation assets, relatively affordable housing and a large manufacturing workforce in our region make this an attractive site for industrial activity. More than 1,700 acres of land there is ripe for redevelopment, most of it farmland long ago that has lain fallow in recent decades. Putting that land back to good use – as home to manufacturing and industrial businesses with living wage jobs – will give local residents more real options to trade long commutes for more time at home, with their families and in their communities. This land is zoned for industrial uses, while other agriculturally zoned property within city limits remains protected. Regional designation by the PSRC means that the city is now eligible to compete for federal funding to support infrastructure development in the area. It also puts Marysville and Arlington on the map when potential investors from other parts of country and the world seek to locate in the Greater Seattle area. That’s a huge competitive advantage, and we have a lot to offer. •For one: financial incentives. One is a 10-year city and county property tax exemption for new construction of industrial/manufacturing facilities of at least 10,000 square feet worth at least $800,000 that create a minimum of 25 full-time jobs paying at least $18 an hour and meet other criteria. Others include no city Business and Occupation tax, state tax incentives for target industries and worker training, and possible capital gains tax deferrals for investments within two designated Opportunity Zones. •Two: supporting infrastructure. The state has funded a new freeway exit at 156th Street NE that will directly serve the CIC; construction is slated to begin in 2025. Before that, in 2021, WSDOT will widen Highway 531/172nd Street NE east of Smokey Point Boulevard. The city has invested in stormwater detention facilities and local road improvements to extend 156th Street NE, widen 51st Avenue NE and build 160th Street NE between Smokey Point Boulevard and 51st to create a roadway loop serving the CIC. •Three: quality of life. North Snohomish County offers businesses and workers a naturally beautiful and enviable quality of life at a bargain price compared to our neighbors to the south. As just an example, the median home value in Marysville is half the price as that in Seattle. I am grateful for the vision of those who came before me and for the hard work of our current city team and partner agencies and jurisdictions in recent years that allowed us to reach this milestone. Some of those partners include the city of Arlington, the county, Economic Alliance Snohomish County, the Port of Everett and Community Transit.
Jon Nehring is the mayor of Marysville. His column runs monthly.