In February 2019, the Chronicle published an article about the UNFI Distribution Center and the expected 350+ new employees locally and relocated. The article asked the question “Where Will Everyone Live?”
In the article, I explained that there were a number of things our community could have done and should do to encourage well planned commercial and residential development; including modifying design guidelines, improving roads and infrastructure; maintaining an efficient permitting processes, and looking at annexation to encourage smart growth.
Above all else, having strong partnerships with the Port, Chamber, EDC, Downtown Associations, and government officials and agencies is essential. If we are all rowing in the same direction our community can reach its full economic potential. I appreciate the work of everyone on this project including State Rep. Richard DeBolt and State Sen. John Braun.
Since being elected, in 2015, I have focused many efforts on residential and commercial growth to allow our community and region to meet its full economic potential.
This year, I was able to pass a design guide modification resolution that helps residential and commercial developments. We have already seen some of the results with UNFI, Borst Avenue, Centralia Station, Streetscape, and Alexander Court. The most recent success story was at the Port of Centralia with Stihl NW.
This year the Port of Centralia worked with Stihl NW to build a facility in Centralia. The obstacle? Design and Development Guidelines within the Port Master Plan. Working together, we were able to resolve the issue and move forward on a beautiful facility that will bring jobs and revenue to our City.
Economic Development must be diverse to be effective. Our community must be diverse in opportunities like manufacturing, services industry, tourism, art and music, sporting events, destination shopping; as well as balance our efforts between the historic downtown, Centralia Outlets, Hospital, College, and the Port of Centralia. Diversity allows a community to grow, withstand recessions, and deliver a better quality of life.
In 2019, I was honored to received the Economic Development Leadership Award from the Lewis County Economic Development Council for my work with local businesses and entrepreneurs. That work and future work continues.
Centralia City Manager Rob Hill and I recently discussed economic development, infrastructure projects, and design and development guidelines at the September Young Professionals Lewis County – YPLC meeting. Check out the story by Susan Delaire in the most recent Business to Business newspaper. We are looking at how we can help others businesses come to our Community and be successful.
Our community needs to continue working with partners to open up new housing opportunities, create new jobs, and grow in smart and innovative ways. We can do that through infrastructure improvements, annexation, and design guide modifications.
I am looking forward to partnering with the Port, Chamber, Downtown Association and others in the community. Learn more about my campaign and issues at www.ElectPeterAbbarno.com