After years of inaction, back-to-back construction projects are coming to the isthmus between Capitol Lake and West Bay in Olympia.
In 2015, the city demolished two vacant buildings it owned — the former Thurston County Housing Authority and Department of Health buildings at 505 and 529 Fourth Ave. W. — but the building foundations remained.
Now, crews will remove the foundations and add a crushed marble surface with picnic tables, benches, some grass and landscaping. The parking lots on either side of the area will remain.
Construction could start as early as mid-April.
“This is just interim (improvements). The intention was to remove the old building foundations and get rid of the blighted nature of the site, take a step toward that at least,” said Laura Keehan, parks planning and design manager for the city.
Earlier this month, crews began demolition of a nearby single-story building that is part of a controversial renovation planned for the vacant Capitol Center Building. A group fighting the renovation filed a land use petition in Thurston County Superior Court last week.
Keehan said despite the timing, the two construction projects are unrelated.
“They just happen to be happening at the same time,” she said.
The next step for the city is to do a master plan for all the property it owns on the isthmus, starting at Water Street and extending west to the parking lot next to West Bay between Fourth and Fifth avenues.
It is unclear when that process, which would include a chance for residents to weigh in on future plans, will start.
Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869, @AbbySpegman