Arlington and Darrington are small communities in the foothills of the Cascades, located about one hour north of Seattle, and linked inextricably by history and geography. On March 22, 2014, we experienced a devastating mudslide that took 43 lives and temporarily closed State Highway 530, the physical and economic lifeline between the towns. In the aftermath, what emerged was evidence of two resilient and interdependent communities with a shared goal of growing their economies while preserving quality of life.
The America’s Best Communities competition is—and has been—a means of making progress toward that goal, as well as an important component of our collective economic development strategy. However, we have created a comprehensive approach to leverage local and regional assets and coordinate efforts; because the execution of the tactics outlined in our Community Revitalization Plan is based on the larger North Stillaguamish Economic Redevelopment Plan (ERP), we can rely on the latter to provide guidance and ensure that we maintain the course in the coming years. The goals in the ERP center on infrastructure, industries and employment, community and workforce development, resilience and sustainability, placemaking and rural innovation. These six goals are used to organize strategies and tactics in our CRP, and the two documents work in tandem to demonstrate a comprehensive economic development strategy for the region.
Achievement of Short-Term Tactics
We met or exceeded our commitments for every tactic presented in our CRP. This document presents a summary of our progress and impact for every tactic.
The can-do attitude of our community members and partners was truly awesome, and our results reflect their eager and willing attitude. In addition to the funds from ABC, we were able to leverage other funding sources and in-kind contributions to accomplish even more.
Where We’re Going
We will continue to enact the strategies contained in the ERP opportunistically, but we are extremely well-positioned to leverage additional funding from ABC to implement catalytic projects and improve the fortunes of residents and business owners in our region. The landslide is an element of our past that will forever affect our communities, but we are committed to a resilient and sustainable future, and ABC can be a part of this mission.
For every strategy achieved during the CRP, we’ve started thinking about where we need to go next to maintain momentum, capitalize on success and magnify our impact. That information, drawn from the ERP, the thoughts and suggestions of community members, and other lessons learned during the implementation of our CRP, is presented in this document.