Olympia officials make right move

June 4th, 2008 by Ken

It isn’t often I get the opportunity to give the City of Olympia a “pat on the back” so I want to do so now.  It’s decision to build the new Olympia City Hall on the site of the old Safeway store was the right way to go.  Opting not to build on Port of Olympia property turned out to be the correct decision.

The port tore down the last remaining plywood plant and in its place was to rise a new Olympia City Hall, a Hands on Children’s Museum and a new corporate office for the LOTT sewer system.   Olympia officials made  port property their preferred location, until the Safeway property became available.  At that point they bought the old Safeway site and made it their “new” preferred location. 

It was a wise move because from the way things are going, it’s doubtful anything will get built on the Port of Olympia site anytime soon.

For decades a dozen plywood and pulp mills operated at the Port of Olympia on the shores of Budd Inlet.  These plants provided jobs for thousands of Olympians but the plants also used caustic chemicals in the process of turning pulp into plywood.  The result was arsenic, lead, dioxin and oil which permeates the soil.  

Before any construction can be done those chemicals must be cleaned up.  To do so will cost millions of dollars; more millions of dollars as time progresses.  The estimated cost now is $11 million, up from $7 million just a few months ago.

The Port of Olympia has floated some $14.5 million in bonds to fund part of the cleanup, but is looking for grants from the Department of Ecology to fund  additional parts of the cleanup.

In hindsight, it looks good for the City of Olympia.  They made the right decision and my congratulations are offered.  To bad the Hands on Children’s Museum didn’t make the same move.

(See related story)

Posted in Business, Government, The Real News

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