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It's 'buy-in phase' for Bounce Back plan
• Ellis Lake.
• Along the Feather River.
• Near Rideout Memorial Hospital.
• Highway 70/E Street corridor.
• Downtown Marysville.
Community organizations, service clubs and everyday citizens are being asked to take on community beautification projects as part of Marysville's plan to improve the city's economic viability.
City Manager Walter Munchheimer unveiled on Monday a volunteer program designed to maintain interest in his Bounce Back initiative while the slow-moving wheels of government go forward.
"We need a buy-in phase to have some short-term results," Munchheimer said of what he called the "community involvement phase" of the longer-term Bounce Back plan.
"Let's have the community take ownership of Bounce Back," he said. "We don't want it to be thought of as a City Hall project."
To that end, council members Chris Pedigo and Dale Whitmore are coordinating an effort to reach out to organized groups — from service organizations to high school clubs — to take on community projects.
Local service clubs and community-based organizations will be invited to attend a kickoff meeting on March 28, followed by a similar session with business owners on April 11. A community picnic and volunteer sign-up geared for individuals wanting to become involved is planned on May 4 at Washington Square Park.
City officials have put forth a suggested list of community projects to get things started, but any groups or individuals — organized or not — are welcome to make suggestions. "We have been pounding the pavement," Pedigo said. "We are creating a lot of excitement. People have to be involved in the community."
Whitmore noted there have been more volunteer beautification efforts in the city in recent years and that this phase of the Bounce Back initiative will build on that.
"I believe this is just a reinvigoration of what this community has been doing for a long time," he said. "Making things look better is an encouragement to the community."
Munchheimer, who joined the city in October, unveiled in January his plan to develop a sustainable economy in Marysville.
It focuses on five areas believed to have potential for economic development — around Ellis Lake, along the Feather River, near Rideout Memorial Hospital, along the Highway 70/E Street corridor and downtown.
But Munchheimer said the plan needs to be kept in the public's conscious while City Hall grapples with the more bureaucratic aspects of the initiative.
"It's important to have visual, tangible improvements going on as we go through this," he said.
Consultant process in the works
It will be another 30 days before the Marysville City Council will be asked to approve "requests for qualifications" for potential consultants to help guide the city through the 1 1⁄2-year Bounce Back initiative.
The council earlier this month approved moving forward with hiring a $100,000 consultant who will be charged with identifying obstacles to economic development and possible solutions. Those solutions could be included in an updated General Plan — which has not been changed since 1985 — designed to better attract economic development.
City Manager Walter Munchheimer noted general fund money will not be used to pay for the consultant. Half will come from economic development funds connected to vacant commercial property on B Street and the remainder will come from Community Development Block Grant funds. The city will also apply for a $150,000 Caltrans community improvement grant.
— Eric Vodden