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Public hearing coming on Thurston County courthouse plan

Should the Thurston County courthouse move?

Ron Thomas of Thomas Architecture Studios discusses what might happen to the current complex site if officials decide to build the new courthouse and county offices elsewhere.
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Ron Thomas of Thomas Architecture Studios discusses what might happen to the current complex site if officials decide to build the new courthouse and county offices elsewhere.

Thurston County commissioners will hold a public hearing later this month on a proposal to build a new courthouse and office complex on Plum Street in Olympia before deciding if and when to put the question to voters.

The hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. April 23 at in Room 280 of Building 1 at the current courthouse complex, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW in Olympia.

In January, commissioners voted 2-1 to build on a site on Plum Street Southeast in downtown Olympia where the Lee Creighton Justice Center is now. A feasibility study last year showed building there could cost as much as $316 million.

Other elected officials previously backed that site over two other possibilities: where the courthouse is now on Lakeridge Drive Southwest, and undeveloped land on Harrison Avenue Northwest at Kaiser Road Southwest.

Voters would be asked to approve a property tax increase to pay for the project. Officials have said they anticipate going to voters in August, but the commissioners could decide to hold off until November or February 2020.

After the public hearing ends, commissioners may vote on if and when the question would appear on the ballot, or they could wait to vote at a later date.

Written comments can be emailed to County Manager Ramiro Chavez at ramiro.chavez@co.thurston.wa.us or mailed to the Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, WA, 98502, attention Ramiro Chavez.

The deadline for written comments is noon April 23.

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