This is a post born out of this question at Mark's Notes on the State of Olympia blog on what places in Olympia (and I assume broader urban North Thurston) are too empty for my tastes.
The almost empty parking lot in the north west corner of the mall is a forgotten little pocket of Lacey. It used be to where the Woolworth's backed up into that side of the mall. I also remember Olympic Comics starting on that side.
Anyway, its empty now, except for maybe people learning to ride motorcycles on Sunday, the parking lot is a waste of impervious surface, reflecting the dead commercial nature of that part of Lacey.
It is also now left without its only lasting civic contribution, as the host of Lacey's July 3rd Fireworks.
The owners of the mall seems to realize the lost potential back there. Coincidentally, they also own a few properties in the residential neighborhood right next door in Olympia. And, in 2008 CDC proposed to the city to redevelop that neighborhood into a south Tumwater-like collection of state office buildings.
The proposal didn't get picked up by the city, but I'm sure the need is still there. It wasn't that solid of a proposal, not even a project. Just a request for a designation that could mean state office buildings would be built there at some point.
But, for me, obviously, the best and highest use of the space would be a soccer stadium. Nothing fancy, 2,000 seats would make me more than happy.
But, what gets me about the empty back corner of west Lacey, is that while it remains very paved and very empty, no one seems to care. We wring our hands over anything relating to downtown, but this part of Lacey is all but ignored.
Uh, that would destroy the Western-Chahalis bike/pedestrian bridge over I-5, which I use to get to and from work. Just sayin'.
In my fantasy world where I'd build a much used 8k soccer stadium, I'd find a way to preserve the bike trail. Under, through or over, it would get through. Promise.
That is an interesting spot, but I think in that general part of town, the now vacant KMart lot might provide the best location. It would be a tight fit though.
I think the best shot that we have at a spectator based baseball or soccer stadium would be at the second phase of the RAC that could be built or a privately financed complex in the "Lacey Town Center" area in Hawks Prairie.
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