Local club discusses city growth, prospective opportunities

Commerce director is hopeful of Pullman, community’s future



Marie Dymkoski, executive director of Pullman Chamber of Commerce, speaks about her plans for downtown Pullman Thursday at the Banyans Restaurant and Pavilion.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

City and business development was the topic of the Kiwanis Club meeting at the Banyans Pavilion Thursday.

Marie Dymkoski, executive director of Pullman Chamber of Commerce, spoke at the meeting about business in Pullman and how she is optimistic about the city’s growth.

“I think one of the things I’ve seen in the last few years is really centered around communication,” Dymkoski said, “especially between the university and the community and having this new Town-Gown Collaborative, where we are talking to each other about the needs of the community, whether it’s from the university’s perspective or the community’s perspective.”

The Town-Gown Collaborative, which started two years ago, is a collaboration between WSU and the community of Pullman. There are five subcommittees, one of which is about first impressions. The new welcome sign in Pullman, for example, was a result of that subcommittee’s work.

“We want to welcome you regardless of cultural diversity,” Dymkoski said. “We want you to know that this is your community.”

She also said she realizes Pullman still has areas that could be improved.

“[The south end of Pullman], that’s certainly an area we could grow, especially with the bypass,” Dymkoski said.

For years, the community has wanted a bypass, but it has not been built. People keep saying legislators will not want to support one or that it costs too much, she said.

“Bishop Boulevard wasn’t engineered for big, heavy traffic,” she said. “Pullman’s infrastructure is challenged by the growth that we’ve had.”

Pullman Transit has grown, and it would help if people would use the transit system more, she said. She also said residents of Pullman do not use the transit system as much as the college students.

“It’s retraining our brain. This has been a small town for a long, long time, and we’re used to things a certain way,” Dymkoski said.

The city continues to grow, but it is important to keep the start-ups in Pullman and the entrepreneurial businesses, she said.

She said it was likely Bishop Boulevard will “build out,” especially with the Community Action Center RiverView Apartments because those residents will need amenities.

She said she knows people like to spend their time in Pullman and spend their money here, and wants for Pullman to keep fostering that.

The Lumberyard is one example. With food trucks, a bar, event hosting space and indoor and outdoor seating, it is something the community should support, she said. She also said she thinks this kind of expansion is an important investment in the community.

“There’s more opportunity for growth and that’s just going to snowball,” Dymkoski said.