The Thurston County Commissioners voted on Tuesday to build a new Courthouse and Civic Center on Plum Street in downtown Olympia on existing city property.
The current Thurston County District Courthouse and Civic Center is located on Lakeridge Drive, but Commissioners John Hutchings and Tye Menser voted in favor of rebuilding it on Plum Street because of potential “opportunities for partnership and collaboration,” according to a news release.
The three sites being considered at the county commissioners meeting were: the current courthouse and civic center location on Lakeridge Drive, a city-owned site on Plum Street, and on property located at Harrison Avenue Northwest and Kaiser Road Southwest.
“The primary considerations for me were that it was identified as the best choice from a perspective of sustainability and urban planning,” Menser said. “It’s also a historic opportunity to partner with the City of Olympia, consolidate services, and create efficiencies for our citizens. I believe the fact that the transit score is the highest, with three different bus lines that already access the site, makes it more accessible to people who use the courthouse.”
Commissioner Gary Edwards voted in favor of renovating and expanding the courthouse at its current location, noting: “We don’t have three good choices; we have three choices, and we have to pick one that is most likely to pass voter scrutiny and provide the facilities we need.”
Following the vote, the commissioners went into an executive session to discuss financial strategies.
County residents could anticipate seeing a proposal on the August 2019 special election ballot regarding the courthouse and civic center, if the commissioners vote to bring a ballot measure forward, which would be to approve funding for the courthouse via a levy.