Thurston County Commissioners are mulling the creation of a cultural arts, stadium, and convention district, with a public hearing to receive comments from area residents set for Tuesday, July 25.

On June 6, the Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution proposing the creation of the district. A statement from the county said such a district would “will set the stage for sustainable economic development strategies through job creation, new industry, and tourism.”

“At this point, we are not asking the citizens for funding or to approve a selected site,” said Commission Vice-Chair, John Hutchings. “With this resolution we are just asking if there is support from our voters to begin exploring the option of creating this district.”

Under state law, each jurisdiction in Thurston County can participate and hold a seat on the governing board for creating the cultural arts, stadium, and convention center district; or, may opt out by submitting a copy of an adopted resolution requesting its deletion from the proposed district to the Board prior to the July 25, public hearing. If no response, the jurisdiction will automatically be included in the district.

Within two years of the public hearing, the Board of County Commissioners may pass a resolution to approve a ballot measure to put the creation of the district in front of the voters. The main objective of this new district, if approved by the voters, will be to implement a regional convention center.

“I’m excited about the possibility of a convention center in Thurston County,” said Commission Chair, Bud Blake. “It gives our region another way to emerge as a destination for events, new industry, and tourism.”

“This is really a way to move the economic engine of the county forward,” said Commissioner Gary Edwards. “It would drive economic development, not only through the creation of jobs, but in attracting new industry and business as tourism increases and organizations hold events right here in our county.”