Kudos are due to both the Ruckelshaus Center, for its report on dredging Capitol Lake, and to Olympia voters, for placing the purchase and removal of the Capitol Center building as the highest priority for parks planning in the Elway survey. These two elements are key features of the revolutionary City Beautiful Movement design of the state Capitol Campus by Wilder and White and the Olmsted brothers.
Working together, the State Capitol Committee, Thurston County, Olympia, Tumwater, the port, the Squaxin Island tribe, and the private sector can resume dredging the lake and can purchase and remove the derelict Capitol Center building, which blocks the view corridor across the lake to Puget Sound and the Olympics from the Law Enforcement Memorial and the north campus trail.
Over 30 years we have collaborated to enhance both downtown and the Capitol Campus with the addition of the Farmers Market, Percival Landing, Heritage Park, Children’s Museum, and The Washington Center. Over the next 10 years we can build a great new Thurston County Courthouse and parking garage near East Bay as part of the City Hall complex on the east side of downtown. A dredged, swimmable Capitol Lake adjacent to the Arc of Statehood and the interactive fountain will be enhanced with a carousel, Squaxin Island Tribal Museum, and artesian well feature on the isthmus.
In between these great civic bookends, we can continue to build a thriving commercial, residential, and theater district for our great state capital city.
Allen T. Miller