Tumwater Economic Development Manager Austin Ramirez briefed the city’s Planning Commission on the Economic Development Plan, a component of the 2025 Comprehensive Plan, during its November 14 meeting.
“I think for this update moving forward, we're not doing an overhaul-- we're doing a refocus and a refresh,” said Ramirez. “The community's attitudes towards economic development evolved and shifted since 2019, so we need to continue to do that engagement with the public and with the business sector to make sure what we have in our plan is still relevant.”
Ramirez explained that the city is a busy hub for investment, which is “a really good problem to have.”
“The development community likes to call us the 50-yard line between Portland and Seattle. We’re [a] really good hub for manufacturing, logistics, and industrial and also [have] a really wonderful, higher quality life and a cheaper cost of living in many cases,” Ramirez added.
Summary of goals
Ramirez shared the summary of the plan’s goals and strategies, which are not listed in order of priority.
- Establish a development climate that stimulates economic activity and desirable investment
- Retain and support existing businesses
- Grow the city’s light industrial and manufacturing sectors
- Make strategic use of the brewery properties and surrounding brewery district to strengthen the city’s economic base
- Develop the city’s craft food and beverage sector
- Work with the port of Olympia to develop the new market industrial campus and the Olympia regional airport
- Solidify and advance the future of the Tumwater town center
- Encourage economic development that strengthens the Tumwater community
- Strengthen Tumwater’s image and advance the community as a regional destination
The committee also identified several subgoals under these goals, some of which were tagged as priority subgoals.
- Ensure a predictable and efficient experience for business owners and developers seeking to invest in Tumwater
- Seek to utilize the transportation infrastructure in the City to support and grow its industrial and manufacturing sectors
- Implement the Brewery District Plan with public and private investment to revitalize the Brewery Neighborhood and take advantage of this remaining historic core to the city and valuable neighborhood asset
- Expand economic opportunity and activity in the Brewery District
- Develop a Center of Excellence around the city’s craft food and beverage sector in partnership with local educational opportunities
- Grow the city’s craft food and beverage sector to include producers, manufacturers, and markets
- In partnership with the Port, facilitate commerce and productivity, as well as efficient movement of goods and provision of services
- Treat Tumwater’s office market as an economic development asset and a foundation to build upon in advancing the Tumwater Town Center
- Support the transformation of Capitol Boulevard by pursuing opportunities to implement the Capitol Boulevard Corridor Plan
- Implement the Littlerock Road Subarea Plan to encourage private development in the area
- Consider a 93rd Avenue/I-5 Interchange Subarea Plan to help guide growth, transportation, and land use