Downtown courthouse bad idea

December 31st, 2014 by Ken

The suggestion that the Thurston County Courthouse be moved into downtown Olympia is a bad idea.   No – – it’s more than that.  It’s an idea that shouldn’t even generate one more conversation on the matter.

The Thurston County courthouse was moved to its present location because it was a chance to build a new facility from scratch, using the newest energy-saving elements.  It also presented visitors with parking,  something they never had at the old site on Capitol Way.

The courthouse on the hill, overlooking the city, was embraced by almost everyone.

Now, with the increase in population and the demands made on county government, the buildings have become over-crowded and parking is at a premium.    Having the jail on the site also creates traffic.   Once the jail population is moved to the Accountability and Restitution Center (the new jail), room will be opened up for expansion of courts and other offices.   More parking will also be freed up.

I can see why the City of Olympia  wants the courthouse downtown.   it has already identified the location – – on State street.

It’s another way Olympia can use government and government money to help create an image of a thriving and prosperous downtown, just as it did with its city hall.

That’s what Tacoma did to renovate its downtown.   Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars went to build the Washington State Museum, renovate Union Station and build the Tacoma campus of the University of Washington – – to say nothing of the hundreds of millions of dollars the state spent to build I-705 into the downtown area.  Still, private business is having a difficult time surviving in downtown Tacoma.

Thurston County Commissioners have let maintenance at the courthouse slide as a means to help balance the budget.

The courthouse is situated perfectly.   Once the old jail is closed, enhancements and renovations can be made to  make the Thurston County Courthouse meet the needs of the public.

It will be a lot less expensive than building a new facility in downtown, on a piece of property already rejected by a hotel company because “it didn’t like the looks of downtown.”


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

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