State Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark keeps trying to bring a little peace and quiet to the Capitol Campus.
His push last year to replace noisy leaf blowers led the state to buy $6,500 worth of quieter equipment, but quieter blowers didn’t work as well across the campus as the machines causing the racket, state property managers said Monday.
Goldmark accepted that conclusion and shifted his complaints to another violator of the tranquility of the campus: Capital Lakefair.
Concerts and fireworks are among the evening festivities at the annual summer bash beside Olympia’s Capitol Lake.
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“Last night was extremely noisy here,” Goldmark, a member of the State Capitol Committee, said at a meeting of the committee this week. The Okanogan Democrat said studies clearly link noise and hearing loss.
“Pedestrians or staff or whoever are walking in the area ... can suffer health effects of that,” he said.
Goldmark works on the east Capitol Campus and lives just to the south.
He said later through a spokeswoman that he isn’t asking for any specific action by the state. The festival pays to use state-owned Heritage Park.
Capital Lakefair president George Sharp said event organizers aim to entertain audiences while also keeping the whole community in mind.
“We try to be a good neighbor,” Sharp said.
Goldmark’s comments came as state property managers at the Department of Enterprise Services briefed the committee on how the leaf-blower experiment the committee ordered had turned out.
DES reported that while a new sweeper machine was working well on pavement, a new set of muffled leaf blowers take nearly three times as long to clean up leaves as their roaring cousins. It also rejected several other types of equipment for large-scale use.
Between the purchases and the cost of more than 80 hours of groundskeepers’ work, DES said it spent more than $11,000. The agency said it would continue looking at other options but needs to keep using traditional leaf blowers.
The committee approved that plan Monday. Goldmark said he is pleased with the efforts to reduce noise.