The Olympia City Council will determine whether or not to purchase a $10.7 million 83-acre parcel of land for use as a community park at its regular business meeting on Aug. 21, the Thurston County Chamber announced.
The property, located at 3323 Yelm Highway Southeast, is currently owned by the Zahn family and being leased to Spooner Berry Farms.
“I’m very excited about this potential park acquisition. This particular property provides a unique opportunity to meet a variety of current and future needs identified in the Parks, Arts, & Recreation Plan,” Paul Simmons, director of Olympia Parks, Arts, and Recreation, said in a statement.
In the City’s 2010 and 2016 Parks, Arts and Recreation Plans, acquiring a large park to develop soccer fields was identified as a high priority. In 2004, Olympia set a goal to increase its city park system by 500 acres. If the Yelm Highway land is purchased, that additional acreage would bring the city within 60 acres of its 2004 goal.
If the city does decide to purchase the property, a planning process would begin in 2019, during which community input would be sought. Park development would proceed in phases, with the first likely beginning sometime in 2024. The 83 acres could potentially be used to create multiple full-size soccer fields, trails, sport courts, community gardens, and other facilities.
Spooner Berry Farms has been operating a U-Pick strawberry farm and berry stand on the land for years. According to the statement, if the city buys the property it would consider continuing to lease it to the farm prior to park construction.