While many city government facilities consolidate their departments as a cost-cutting measure, Marysville is bringing in additional resources as a way to run two of its largest entities more efficiently.

Public works and community development are now separate departments, run by full-time managers.

City Manager Marti Brown said the departments are too large to have one person in charge of both. 

In most cities public works and community development would be separated as a way to free up the department heads to focus on long-term projects and goals for the city, Brown said. 

Jonathan Wright began his stint as community development director on Monday and already has a focus for what he wants to accomplish in Marysville. 

Wright, formerly a city manager in Reedsport, Oregon, said a few of his priorities for Marysville are finding a solution to the B Street property; extending the downtown turnaround project to include more businesses on D Street; and working with Brown on overhauling the city’s general plan moving forward. 

“There’s a lot of challenges here that are very similar to the ones in my last location,” Wright said. 

– The B Street property is an endeavor that Wright hopes to tackle immediately. The city recently hired a consulting firm to identify a long-term plan for the best use of the property. 

Marysville reissued bonds on B Street not long ago, which saved the city as much as $1 million, according to Appeal-Democrat archives. 

The property on B Street is located between 12th and 14th streets and consists of 14 parcels and 3.7 acres of land. It was purchased by the city in July, 2006. The goal was to consolidate properties and offer the plot up for business development – but the recession put the whole thing on ice.

– Another bullet point in Wright’s plan for success is continuing the positive work accomplished from the Marysville downtown turnaround project that was implemented last fall. The project began in October with three businesses as a part of a pilot program instituted with the help of a grant from Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). Wright said he is looking into applying for another grant as a way to educate other businesses about what proper, good-looking storefronts can do for a downtown arena. 

In Oregon, Wright helped decrease what he said was a 90 percent vacancy rate down to 10 percent in downtown Reedsport in seven years. 

“My hope is to implement a similar project in our downtown (Marysville),” he said. 

It starts with the individual businesses on D Street. 

Wright said he wants Marysville to be “more appealing to the traveling public.” 

Michele Reeves, who works out of a firm in Portland, said in her turnaround presentation that making something aesthetically pleasing can go a long way to turning a business around. 

The original pilot program consisted of sprucing up the front windows of Sissy’s Attic, Skip’s Music Cafe and VIP Pets. All three have been pleased with the progress of the turnaround project. 

Wright said he wants to bring in more Marysville businesses. 

“I want to work with the local businesses down there,” he said. 

– Wright said Marysville and Reedsport have a lot in common: Both were once very successful and have  rich histories – Marysville for mining; Reedsport for fish and timber. 

He said he is in favor of tapping into Marysville’s history as the oldest city in the state, in order to revitalize the town. 

Revitalization takes a vision, and what’s more appealing than murals and street art. Wright said he wants to try and implement both characteristics into downtown Marysville. 

“Especially ones (murals) that are culturally driven,” he said. 

Wright has a clear vision and strong hope for the town. 

“I had many successes in my previous life and I hope to bring similar successes (to) Marysville,” he said. 

Recommended for you