17 December 2008

Olympia, Washington: Envision an Isthmus Park

Imagine a Park to stretch across the entire isthmus of downtown Olympia.

It would be:

- A monument to public interest.

- A magnet to attract visitors, residents and investors.

- A signal to young people — that this community cares about the common interest of taking concerted action toward genuine and true sustainability, and environmental protection.

Please don't cater to the special interests of wealthy developers, or to the potential residents of an upper-class luxury condominium!

Envision an isthmus dedicated to an inclusive and accessible public space, and to the protection and restoration of damaged ecosystems.


  1. Time to rip out the lake then if you want to restore damaged eco systems. Also a few more acres of grass won't be a magnet for anything. Get over the hangup that "developer" "rich" and "high end" are evil dirty words. I'd rather see nice condos than the current blight that is there now, and a bit more grass won't do a thing for me. There is already a park around nearly the entire lake, that should be good enough.

  2. Restoration of the Estuary: Yes.

    In terms of the grass, I agree. My vision for the expanded areas of the park would as more of a wilderness area - designed to protect the environment (by preventing run-off,) and also to educate about the environmental problems associated with human development/ economic activity.

    If downtown experiences a rush in residency - as might happen based on strengthening will for environmental protection (thereby forcing new economic (industrial/ residential/ commercial) development to occur downtown), then downtown residents will need plenty of diverse spaces for recreation. The isthmus is THE perfect candidate area for that purpose. Heritage park isn't big enough.

  3. A small roughly five acre patch of "wilderness"? The only way to properly pull off what you want would involve removing ALL development from the area, breaching the dam and restoring the area to an estuary. Something that would be very nice, but extremely unlikely to happen...

  4. Small patch of wilderness...removing all existing structures...that's what I have been saying all along—for months now.

    The important thing to remember is that this doesn't need to take place overnight. What if the final product was 20, 30, or even 50 years out?

    What's wrong with converting the central strip now and waiting for existing businesses to relocate - give them time, so that they can gradually relocate without being coerced.

    As far as what is likely to happen, I think that the likely outcomes are very dependent on the will of the people.