FINALIST SPOTLIGHT: Darrington-Arlington, Washington

The excitement of the summit at Durham remains in our community today as project leaders and community members begin our implementation. Our leadership team is meeting regularly and providing support, guidance and resources to the community project teams.

Projects descriptions have been refined and our project leaders are actively engaging community partners to meet — and exceed — our goals. The core leadership team defined processes and automated systems for our task leaders to report monthly progress on all 11 strategies in our Community Revitalization Plan, including the merchandising project, youth councils, Glacier Peak Institute, Remembrance Bike Ride, Wi-Fi hotspots and the Maker Space. Scheduling initial meetings with the 11 team leads proved to be a challenge, but one that was worth the effort to insure that their focus remained clear and that they receive the support they need.

Arlington (1)

These volunteer project leaders, most of whom participated in generating the original Community Revitalization Plan, are all enthusiastically engaged in moving forward. For one of our more complex projects — creating a plan for a maker space — we brought together several experts in the field of workplace development to identify potential resources and construct the best possible plan for our area. After a thought-provoking meeting, a partner from our county library system agreed to provide the research data needed to refine our focus.

During the process of collaboration with the task leads, we saw how our strategies integrated in broader ways. This will lead to a bit of adaptation to allow greater synergy across strategies, as in the case of our Placemaking and Merchandising Consultant and the Beautification Campaign. We realized that our consultant can have a valuable role in helping us evaluate what our beatification priorities should be.

We feel energized at having made a great start and seeing our communities’ involvement continue to increase. Our goals are grand and our 11 strategies are ambitious. However, Arlington and Darrington have a strong, rich culture of the community coming together to support our towns. This culture is sure to lead us to success in the America’s Best Communities competition.