Commissioner should postpone making a decision on new county courthouse

January 21st, 2019 by Ken

I agree with Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby. Thurston County Commissioners should postpone making a decision on the location of a new courthouse. But not for the reasons Selby wants them to wait.

The Olympia mayor said it may cost the City of Olympia up to $32 million dollars to locate a new county courthouse in downtown Olympia on its stated location on Plum Street, the former location of the old Olympia City Hall. The city doesn’t have that kind of money in its budget, the mayor said.

I don’t think the courthouse should go into downtown Olympia. Not because it will cost the city money, but because I don’t think the taxpayers of Thurston County should fund this downtown Olympia re-development project. Pumping millions of dollars into the downtown area will be counter-productive to residents of Lacey, Tumwater and the unincorporated areas of Thurston County.

As much as people seem to think this is one big community, the exact opposite is true. Lacey and Tumwater compete with Olympia on business and commercial development. Helping fund a downtown Olympia courthouse is to the detriment of those two cities – – and all of the other small towns in Thurston County.

Instead, county commissioners should pick the third option – – redevelop the current property of the existing courthouse complex on the Westside of Olympia.The cost will be a little more and it will take a little more time, but it is the best option the commissioners are considering.

There is nothing wrong with that site. Many legal firms doing business with the county are located in the vicinity and people know where the courthouse is located. The buildings just need to be renovated. It is the best option and commissioners should take Mayor Selby’s advice – – and postpone making a decision until the public has had an opportunity to comment.

Posted in The Real News

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