Council praises economic plan’s direction
SNOHOMISH — The City Council was all ears in reviewing the 2019 economic development plan for consideration at the Sept. 9 council meeting, and they liked what they heard.
The council praised economic development manager Wendy Poischbeg’s five-part plan to increase revenues through careful evaluation, support and growth of the city’s assets.
One is to create an online inventory database of Snohomish infrastructure and assets. The inventory would underlay efforts to attract developers and new businesses while supporting existing ones.
Poischbeg would also focus on branding the city in a way that would both draw tourists and leverage tourism to attract further investment in the city.
Council members discussed slogans and traits the city was known for, such as the tagline Antique Capital of the Northwest, and historic homes.
Councilwoman Karen Guzak joked that branding might need a little work when it took the council a moment to remember the slogan, “dig our vintage attitude,” from the group Historic Downtown Snohomish.
Poischbeg’s initial impression was that Snohomish is “different things to different people” and it would take time to find its unique brand.
Her plans to tempt tourists include a winter birdwatching festival and enhanced focus on wedding tourism. Councilman Larry Countryman commented he was pleased to know bringing a hotel or motel to town was part of the plan.
Land development is another key point, with a focus on the Pilchuck District, Public Works site and old Seattle-Snohomish Mill site.
While the council gave the plan its “100 percent support,” in Guzak’s words, Poischbeg did respond to one concern from the public.
Referring to a criticism of her idea to illuminate a Snohomish bridge to create a picturesque landmark in a letter published in the Tribune, she reassured listeners she did not have “any intention of making it a Disneyland.”
But “why can’t we replace the Seattle Space Needle,” as the region’s most memorable landmark, she said.
The council suggested little on revisions. Two requests from Council President Jason Sanders were to consider how to improve parking downtown and to collaborate with the new youth council.
Poischbeg’s ready to put the plan into action. She has already applied for funding for a marketing campaign to “amplify and promote our substantial wedding industry, our vibrant craft spirit, brewery and culinary scene and our dynamic outdoor recreation assets,” she wrote in a follow-up email. A funding decision will come in January.
Planning for the birding festival, after-hour networking events for business owners and a competitive grant program for entrepreneurs is already underway, she said.
Poischbeg’s proposal built on her more than 10 years of experience managing economic development for Snohomish County.
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