March 8, 2011 |

Community leaders and residents meet for economical development conference

Granite Falls Mayor Haroon Saleem, Police Chief Dennis Taylor and City Council member Matt Hartman.

A group gathered at Granite Falls High School last week to get their hands dirty in the economic growth of the city that acts as a gateway to Mountain Loop Highway.

In attendance were city officials, retail establishments, school district employees, community members, developers and industry representatives.

These people included Washington State Representative and Lake Stevens resident Mike Hope, Granite Falls Mayor Haroon Saleem, Police Chief Dennis Taylor, and City Council member Matt Hartman.

The group took a look at the economic opportunities and challenges that face the small town as population grows and Granite Falls becomes a tourist destination.

“We are looking at opportunities and challenges and possible solutions, then determining the next steps, both short term and long term,” Granite Falls City Planner Ray Sturtz said.

Self directed individual groups comprised of members from different disciplines focused on items like tourism, education, community support, first aid for businesses and city procedures. Solutions to local economic issues are in the works.

“Some things could get started tomorrow, next week, next month or maybe five or twenty years from now,” Sturtz said.

The economic conference also looked at pooling the cities resources like their senior citizens or High School students.

“Organizing the seniors could be great, there are a lot of resources there and a lot of brain power, and the High School kids in this community are amazing,” Sturtz said. “Hopefully this is the beginning of something really great.”

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