ARLINGTON — Planners are asking the public to weigh in on the next steps in developing an area that could be home to 25,000 jobs by 2040.
A meeting is set for Wednesday evening. There will be maps and other information about the project along with staff who can answer questions and gather feedback, according to the cities of Arlington and Marysville, which are working together on the employment center.
The Arlington Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center has been in the works for the better part of a decade. Since about 2012, the cities have been seeking an official designation that could open the door for more federal funding for infrastructure, Arlington city administrator Paul Ellis said. That designation from the Puget Sound Regional Council could be coming soon.
Meanwhile, planning continues for the 4,000 acres. The center includes the Arlington Municipal Airport and stretches into Marysville south of Highway 531.
A 2016 study found the center could provide space and incentives for between 8,000 and 25,000 jobs in the next two decades. There are more than 5,000 people employed by businesses there now. About 1,700 of the 4,000 acres are considered ready to develop or redevelop. The cities each received $50,000 from the state for planning.
“It really involves setting some guidelines for visually what the MIC would look like as it grows, and then the other piece of it is more of the infrastructure and transportation so that Arlington’s plan and Marysville’s plan align,” Ellis said.
The goal is to get the official designation done in time to have the center incorporated into regional planning efforts that aim to look decades into the future. City officials want the Arlington Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center to be included in maps of key employment hubs for the Puget Sound area.
“This is part of the process where the cities can get it on the map and show that we are a community that has opportunity for manufacturing and industrial here,” said Marysville planning director Dave Koenig. “Right now, the map stops in Everett.”
Infrastructure continues to be a key piece, Ellis and Koenig said. Traffic tends to be a top concern for businesses and commuters who will need to navigate in and around the new center. There will be discussions about new or improved roads, public transit options, and paths for bicycles and other nonmotorized transportation, Ellis said.
Some ideas suggested by the public include new parks and trails that would make the area more appealing for workers and neighbors, Koenig said. They could eventually link to regional trails such as the Centennial Trail.
Employers that locate in the manufacturing industrial center, build or expand their workspace, and hire at least 25 employees paid at least $18 an hour can apply for a property tax exemption. No companies in either city have received an exemption yet, but Ellis and Koenig said several have expressed interest.
The planning kickoff meeting is set for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Crown Distributing, 17117 59th Ave NE.
There also is a public survey online at http://bit.ly/2HOIitA. The survey asks about the types of businesses people would like to see in the center and the most important things they think should be addressed, with options such as truck access, open spaces and environmental concerns.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; email@example.com.