No one’s in charge at the City of Olympia

February 28th, 2012 by Ken

The first Boys and Girls Club in Thurston County was in Tumwater, on property leased to the club by the Tumwater School District.

In Lacey, the Boys and Girls Club is in a leased building owned by the North Thurston Public Schools.

So, when the Olympia Boys and Girls Club wanted to build a new facility it looked to the Olympia School District and selected property on the city’s westside at Garfield Elementary School. It made sense from several points.

But, this being Olympia, you just can’t do something because it makes sense. You have to deal with people, who often don’t make sense.

In this case, neighbors living around Garfield are opposed to the new facility because “it might change the look and the feel of the neighborhood.” And, of course, Olympia Mayor Steve Bauxbaum apparently agrees, because he was quoted as saying the city needs to do a better job of working with the neighborhoods.

Doing business in Olympia has always been catchy at best and impossible at worst. Neighborhood groups dominate city politics. Nothing planned by private developers can be done without a lot of time, effort, money and patience, and even then you often don’t get it done.

Neighbors objected and a hotel complex near the freeway fell by the wayside. Neighbors objected, and a housing development on the city’s south is now nearly dead.

Neighbors objected and a retail business on the corner of Harrison and Division is still up-in-the-air although the property is zoned for such a business. And, now, neighbors are objecting to a dog park already in use. Chances are that park will eventually be closed.

Members of local neighborhood groups predominate on the Olympia City Council. Their purpose, apparently, is to stop all private development in and around the city.

It’s a sad state of affairs if the city council bows to neighborhood groups and stops the construction of the Boys and Girls Club at Garfield.

Who actually runs the City of Olympia? Everyone, it appears. Which means that no one’s in charge.

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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