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Preliminary Snohomish economic growth plan previewed

SNOHOMISH — City economic development manager Wendy Poischbeg unveiled a wide-ranging first draft plan to grow city revenues at the Economic Development Committee meeting July 24.
The five-item, early draft of the 2019 plan offered a mix of ongoing and novel opportunities to leverage Snohomish’s assets.
The most visible of ventures would be illuminating a city bridge with programmable LED lights that would “transform a historic landmark into a destination focal point.” Lighting schemes could change for special occasions and holidays. Which bridge would get the special treatment is yet to be decided.
Creating an identifiable landmark spoke to broader efforts to market Snohomish.
Poischbeg wants to create a brand for the city that would attract new businesses. That brand would be marketed online through podcasts, social media and LinkedIn.
Tilting Motor Works, featured on the “Jay Leno Show” in 2016, was an example of the community’s personality that could be featured for marketing, Poischbeg said.
Poischbeg wrote it was critical that existing businesses be as resilient and stable as possible, so the city would also focus heavily on growing and retaining jobs and businesses.
Businesses could have evening networking events and monthly meetings with the city. Staff would also create a comprehensive online inventory of every city asset. Developing “a coordinated fiber optic backbone” could entice new businesses to invest in town, she wrote.
The city would foster startups and encourage inventors through grants made in partnership with private industry. For example, a partnership with Sno-Isle Libraries would provide business workshops and entrepreneur training.
Poischbeg also highlighted numerous methods to grow tourism. Visitors would have new birdwatching options and find a bike-friendlier environment according to the draft. A biking etiquette toolkit would promote harmony among riders and the community. The city would tackle conflicts and access issues at the Snohomish River boat launch and zoning issues for the Eastside Rail Corridor rail-to-trail project.
The little-used Visitor Information Center at First Street and Avenue D might be repurposed, too, if a market analysis revealed a better use for the prime location.
Teamwork with private and nonprofit partners was an overall theme of an initiative to increase revenues. Historic downtown, wedding businesses, and entrepreneurs would get special attention.
Poischbeg would also reinvest in the U.S. 2 Safety Coalition.
Last on the list was increasing the city’s tax base by expanding its footprint and developing existing parcels. Efforts would focus on the Pilchuck District, Public Works Site and old Seattle-Snohomish Mill site.
The plan will be further refined and revised by the Mayor, City Council and others before implementation.



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