Chapter 1 Introduction

Executive Summary

Olympia loves its parks! 95% of Olympia residents are park users according to a 2015 Stuart Elway poll. To find out what parks, arts and recreation amenities Olympians want, parks staff conducted an extensive public input process for this plan. Through eight neighborhood meetings, a community meeting, an on-line questionnaire, and a random sample survey, Olympia residents were able to make their needs known.

Residents made it clear that they wanted additional parks and open space to meet a variety of unmet needs. The acquisition of the “LBA Woods” topped the list, but there was also a strong desire expressed for more neighborhood parks, community parks, other open space/trail acquisitions and increased maintenance of existing parks.

In addition to the challenge of meeting current unmet needs, Olympia and its urban growth area are expected to grow by over 21,000 people in the next 20 years. Substantial land acquisition, development and additional maintenance resources will be required to address this growth.

In order to fund the land acquisition, development and maintenance required, the Plan will rely on General Fund revenue, the existing Voted and Non-Voted Utility Tax, Park Impact Fees, SEPA Mitigation Fees, and revenue generated by the newly formed Olympia Metropolitan Park District (MPD). MPD funds can be used to rebuild parks maintenance service levels, address the $4 million deferred maintenance backlog, provide ongoing inspection and maintenance of Percival Landing and help OPARD meet other critical needs. This will allow the Voted Utility Tax to be utilized exclusively for land acquisition.

The following is a summary of the major elements of this plan (for a complete list of all projects and projected costs, see the Capital Investment Strategy at the end of this plan).

Land Acquisition

The plan calls for 417 acres of land acquisition over the 20-year planning horizon1. This includes:

•    “LBA Woods” (74-acres)

•    “Kaiser Woods” (75-Acres)

•    10 combination neighborhood park/open space parks (45-acres)

•    Open space/trail corridors (54-acres)

•    Land Acquisition Fund (169-acres)

If these acquisitions are accomplished, the land for Olympia’s foreseeable park needs as expressed by the public will be secured while it is still available. The City will also have achieved the goal of 500 acres of park acquisition expressed in the informational materials for the 2004 Funding Measure effort. The City’s inventory of trails will increase by more than 30%.

Path to 500 Acres
Park land added since 2004 and additional proposed acres.


Park Name

Date Acquired or Leased

Total Acres


Evergreen Park Drive (IUMP)




8th Ave




Kettle View




Ward Lake




West Bay




Grass Lake Expansion (Loete Parcel)




Heritage Park Fountain expansion (Little Da Nang)




Madison Scenic Park




Log Cabin Road Park




Harrison Avenue Parcel




Artesian Commons




Leo Donation




Isthmus Parcels




Grass Lake Expansion (parcel adjacent to Rite Aid)




Springwood Dr Parcel donation (Bowen/Zables)




Acres Added Since 2004 Funding Measure Passed




Land Acquisition proposed in draft Plan







Park Development

While the plan has a strong emphasis on land acquisition, there are also substantial park development projects to ensure that as Olympia’s population grows during the next twenty years its recreation needs continue to be met. The plan calls for:

•    Phase 2, Section A reconstruction of Percival Landing

•    West Bay Park and Trail Phase 2

•    Olympia Woodland Trail Phase 3

•    Athletic field complex

•    5 Neighborhood parks

•    Arts Center

•    2 Sprayground water play features

•    A Major Community Park development project

•    Dog park, disc golf course, skate court and community gardens


The Plan places a strong emphasis on both maintaining the existing park infrastructure and also setting aside sufficient funds to maintain the new parks that will be acquired and developed during this planning horizon:

•    Major maintenance program fully funded at $750,000 annually

•    Additional maintenance staff for new land and projects

•    Restoration of park custodial crew

•    Restoration of park landscape crew

•    Art maintenance support

•    Additional park maintenance administrative support

•    Percival Landing maintenance reserve and annual inspection fund

Safe Parks

The plan provides funds to help keep Olympia’s parks safe:

•    Investments in proactive park enforcement

•    Increased park patrolling

•    Increased lighting and other park safety upgrades

•    Resources for encampment cleanup

With anticipated population growth and aging infrastructure, there will be a strong demand for new and updated parks in coming years. This plan provides a roadmap for how we can address these challenges and build a parks, arts and recreation system that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Our Mission

We provide opportunities for meaningful life experiences through extraordinary parks, arts and recreation.

Our Vision

To make a difference by enriching Olympia’s quality of life, being good environmental stewards, strengthening community connection, creating neighborhood identity, fostering artistic expression, and beautifying our City; in short, to touch the life of every Olympian in a positive way.

Objectives of the Plan

This plan discusses the findings and recommendations for meeting the community’s needs for parks, arts, and recreation services in Olympia. More specifically, the plan:

•    Designs a park, arts, and recreation system that meets the needs of the community. Over time, the community’s population profile and interests change. The park system, arts programs, and recreation services must be flexible to meet emerging needs.

•    Identifies the general location of future parks, open space, and trail systems. The “Existing and Proposed Parks and Open Spaces” map in Chapter 7 shows the general locations of these proposed sites.

•    Provides direction for future recreation activities and services. The Olympia Department of Parks, Arts & Recreation offers a wide variety of recreation programs using The Olympia Center, schools, parks and other facilities.

•    Provides direction for arts facilities and services. The plan contains goals and policies for new arts programs and facilities and contains a link to the Municipal Arts Plan.

•    Identifies new services and facilities. New parks, arts, and recreation services and facilities are included in this plan.

•    Complies with the Growth Management Act (GMA). While this is not a Growth Management Act Document, OPARD will recommend amendments to the Comprehensive Plan to ensure that these plans are consistent.

•    Maintains Olympia’s eligibility for funding through grants. The Washington Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) requires that grant applicants have a park system master plan that has been updated within the last six years. This plan will meet the requirements of the RCO for several grant categories including habitat grants.

•    Establishes the foundation for assessing Park Impact Fees and SEPA Mitigation Fees. Park Impact Fees are charged for new residential construction within Olympia City Limits, and SEPA Mitigation Fees are charged for new residential construction in Olympia’s Urban Growth Area.

•    Provides a business plan for implementing parks, arts and recreation services. The business plan will provide a framework for measuring progress towards performance measures.