Yelm is the fastest growing city in Thurston County, and we desperately need to learn to manage our infrastructure. Yelm could become a destination town or a comfortable bedroom community to our larger neighbors, but unfortunately, we are on the path to becoming one long road littered with derelict buildings, national chain stores, and unrented commercial space.
We must encourage infill development with affordable mixed-used housing and retail/office/civic space, so that we have a more walkable, integrated city with an inviting city core. We should encourage sustainable measures in building, transportation, and daily living to ensure a healthy city for decades to come.
Yelm must attract locally-owned businesses and support them during growth, so that store fronts are full, jobs are created, and money that is earned here is spent here. Keeping money local is crucial to healthy cities; if big chains and box stores siphon our money away, eventually our tax base and independence will erode. As a stop on Thurston County's Bountiful Byway, Yelm should capitalize on our gorgeous organic farms and cottage industries to showcase what we have to offer.