Letters to the Editor

New court house siting requires a public process

Your editorial about moving the Thourston County court house downtown was provocative, but premature. The old court house has been overcrowded and beyond repair for over a decade, but finances have made a new one prohibitive. However, before any specific replacement site is targeted, the county should go through a public siting process, including development of a variety of service delivery criteria and evaluation of multiple options.

The Olympian-suggested site is not the most cost-effective option and not necessarily the best for the services at the court house. Additionally, a downtown master plan is badly needed to balance this option against other downtown needs. All of the criteria described in the editorial would be met by other options.

This may not be the best way to create a thriving, dynamic downtown reflective of our county’s history that addresses public demand for a traditional, walkable retail and entertainment center. The City of Olympia must proceed with a downtown master planning process that engages the public to determine what uses are best in what areas, and the best transportation routes, as well as how all proposed functions coincide with proposed Port activities.

This is where out-of-the-box thinking would be best applied, before decisions are made on large projects with unintended consequences that are publicly condemned later.

Cynthia Stewart