Opinion

State park idea for Capitol was silly

It's good to see that Sen. Ken Jacobsen has come to his senses. Jacobsen, a Democrat from Seattle, introduced an inane bill this session to turn the state Capitol Campus into a state park, transferring governance from the state Department of General Administration to the state parks department.

It was a ridiculous idea. Parks Director Rex Derr and his staff have enough trouble keeping parks open on the meager amount of money sent their direction by the state Legislature, let alone taking over responsibility for operating the campus.

In the face of criticism, Jacobsen has backed off and substantially revised his legislation, Substitute Senate Bill 5163. The amended bill calls for creation of a 12-member study commission - with just two citizen representatives - to recommend ways tourism can be increased on the campus. The commission's report is due Nov. 1.

The commission's charge is to "seek to provide the proper balance between managing for the best visitor services and maximum public enjoyment of the Capitol Campus against the need for maintaining the functionality of the working seat of state government and preservation of the historical structures and monuments on campus."

Bolstering tourism on the campus with self-guided tours, a central visitor center with

souvenir/retail opportunities and additional parking is a terrific idea. Turning the campus into a state park is just plain silly.

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