Welcome from Paul Simmons, OPARD Director

The foundation for Parks, Arts and Recreation in Olympia is incredible. The park system has grown to over 1,000 acres and includes all of the traditional amenities one would look for such as ballfields, tennis courts, playgrounds, restrooms and picnic shelters. Olympia parks also provide substantial open space and natural areas, complemented by multiple opportunities to access the Puget Sound shoreline and our historical waterfront.

The well-established recreation division provides a diverse menu of activities and has achieved four consecutive years of record-breaking participation and revenue generation. The public art collection has grown to 100 pieces; while the Percival Plinth project and award-winning Arts Walk event create a unique community identity and provide meaningful opportunities for civic engagement.

On November 3, 2015, Olympians took a historic step to further enhance Parks, Arts and Recreation services. The Olympia Metropolitan Parks District (MPD) funding measure passed with more than 60% voter approval. The newly-formed MPD will ensure that the existing park system is well-maintained and remains safe and accessible. It will also provide the resources to meet expanding needs as Olympia grows substantially over the next twenty years. This community-driven update to the Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan provides the road map and funding plan to achieve that vision through the following actions:

•    Acquisition of 417 acres of new park land

•    An increase of more than 25% to our existing 16-mile trail inventory

•    Elimination of the existing $4 million major-maintenance backlog

•    Management shift towards data-driven decisions with performance measures

•    A strengthened commitment to the arts and to recreation programming

•    More than doubled investment in safety and security of our parks and facilities

I want to take a moment and recognize the in-house staff team that worked together to develop this Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan. With Associate Planner Jonathon Turlove as the Project Leader; this staff group spent countless hours facilitating an extensive public feedback process, finalized a series of supporting documents and master plans, and worked collaboratively to craft and edit the final language and approach outlined in this plan.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude for the unprecedented level of community support for Parks, Arts and Recreation services in Olympia. The amount of community engagement in the planning process and ongoing support for Parks, Arts and Recreation initiatives is truly remarkable.

I am honored to serve as the Parks, Arts and Recreation Director in Olympia and look forward to working closely together with community members as we make this plan a reality.


Paul Simmons

Parks, Arts and Recreation Director

Plan Technical Advisory Group. Left to right: Jonathon Turlove, Gary Franks, David Hanna, Paul Simmons, Tammy LeDoux, Scott River, Dave Okerlund, and Stephanie Johnson