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The Future Vision for Olympia's Downtown
By Jeanette Hawkins, TriWay Enterprises
The Fountain Block fulfills Heritage Park's historic North/South axis from the Hall of Justice to Budd Inlet. The expectation that a ubiquitous 'view corridor' exists for the pleasure of the State Capitol Campus at the expense of the City of Olympia's future economic vitality and housing district should be strongly rebuked. The reality of a vital downtown that fulfils the vision of our Comprehensive Plan should be considered a positive 'view' by a State Government whose measure of success depends upon meeting the transportation challenges of a growing population while cleaning up Puget Sound, imperiled because of unsustainable land use patterns and our dependence upon the automobile.
Larida Passage is exactly the kind of development that addresses these sustainability issues.
- 141 residential units will be built on 2.34 acres, instead of 63 acres in suburbia, or 332 acres in Thurston County. - 42,400 square feet of retail and 24,800 square feet of office space, 513 parking places, plus a public plaza and trail will also be hosted within the 2.34 acres. -}
A green building that conserves energy and water, and is located close to existing public infrastructure will also reflect these environmental values. Residents, as well as workers and customers, will have choices to park, walk, bike, and ride the bus to reduce their auto use. Spending by residents will invigorate the local downtown economy. The City's housing market studies and their updates state emphatically that it will be local residents with equity in their suburban and rural homes who will purchase these beautiful condominiums, and that a high amenity site, such as this, is the best location to jump-start the downtown housing district.
Olympia is the economic, cultural, and historic center of South Puget Sound. We are an environmentally conscious community that deserves to be given the choice to live an urban lifestyle that supports the conservation ethic. This is the vision of the Olympia Comprehensive Plan, and Larida Passage meets all the applicable land use, transportation, housing, sustainability, and design goals and policies it contains.
We must change the way we live, and this is how we do it.
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