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Lacey City Council OKs spending $950,000 on land, building for museum

Lacey Museum considers possible relocation to larger facility

In this July 2016 file video, Lacey Museum curator Erin Quinn Valcho stands at the former location of the Lacey Plywood Company. The Lacey City Council bought the land and property for an expanded history museum and possible replica train depot.
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In this July 2016 file video, Lacey Museum curator Erin Quinn Valcho stands at the former location of the Lacey Plywood Company. The Lacey City Council bought the land and property for an expanded history museum and possible replica train depot.

It was a night of history for Lacey City Council on Thursday when they voted to approve spending $950,000 to acquire land and property at 5700 Lacey Boulevard SE.

The council agreed to buy the 16,000-square-foot building and its acre of property for an expanded history museum that will also pay tribute to a train depot that was on the same site. The building will be big enough for the Lacey Depot Museum, but also for other civic events or public meetings, said City Manager Scott Spence.

The council voted unanimously to approve.

“This will be a first-class civic facility that’s really going to make that area of the city pop,” Councilman Jeff Gadman said.

It’s also a welcome decision for Lacey Museum curator Erin Quinn Valcho. The current home of the museum measures about 2,000 square feet, which isn’t big enough for all the exhibits, some of which are stored off-site. But at the new location, she’ll have everything under one roof, making for a centralized operation, she said.

Valcho shared the history of that area of Lacey Boulevard Southeast. The depot served a train that ran through the area — where Woodland Trail is today — from the 1890s until the structure closed in the early 1930s. The depot was torn down in the 1940s. Lacey Plywood Co. sprouted on the site in the 1950s until it closed in 1988. The 16,000-square-foot building was later occupied by a series of carpet businesses until 2012.

Also Thursday night:

▪ Retired parks director Lori Flemm was recognized as the 2016 Lacey Historian of the Year. Valcho, who accepted the award on Flemm’s behalf, said Flemm championed and supported the city’s museum and its history. She also filled in and helped when the museum didn’t have a curator for about six months in 2013.

▪ Actor Chris Valcho, Erin’s husband, portrayed the late Lacey developer Bob Blume on Thursday night, acting out an original monologue written by Ken Balsley, the 2015 Lacey Historian of the Year. Blume, a commercial real estate developer who was sometimes described as the father of Lacey, built and developed the South Sound Shopping Center on Sleater-Kinney Road off Interstate 5.

“Top of the day to you,” said Valcho, delivering Blume’s signature line.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403, @rolf_boone

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