Chapter 5 Goals and Policies

The goals and policies from the most current version of the Olympia Comprehensive Plan guide OPARD’s efforts. The goals from the Public Health, Arts, Parks and Recreation chapter (2014 version) are reprinted here:


Unique facilities, public art, events, and recreational programming encourage social interaction, foster community building, and enhance the visual character and livability of Olympia.

PR1.1 Continue to provide extraordinary parks and community programs that contribute to our high quality of life and attract tourism and private investment to Olympia.

PR1.2 Promote City parks, arts, and recreation programs and facilities so they are used and enjoyed by as many citizens as possible.

PR1.3 Be responsive to emerging needs for programs, facilities, and community events.


The City leverages its investments in parks, arts and recreation programs and facilities.

PR2.1 Seek non-profit organization and citizen partnerships, sponsorships, grants, and private donations for park and facility acquisition, development, operation, programming, and events.

PR2.2 Use creative problem-solving and cost-effective approaches to development, operations, and programming.

PR2.3 Continue the Joint Use Agreement between the City and the Olympia School District to provide recreation facilities and programming for the community.

PR2.4 Seek opportunities to increase revenues generated by users of park facilities and concessions.

PR2.5 Search for opportunities for mixed-use facilities and public/private partnerships.


A sustainable park system meets community recreation needs and Level of Service standards.

PR3.1 Provide parks in close proximity to all residents.

PR3.2 Ensure that Olympia’s park system includes opportunities for its citizens to experience nature and solitude as a healthy escape from the fast pace of urban life.

PR3.3 Preserve and enhance scenic views and significant historic sites within Olympia’s park system.

PR3.4 Identify and acquire future park and open space sites in the Urban Growth Area.

PR3.5 Beautify entry corridors to our City and our neighborhoods, giving priority to street beautification downtown and along Urban Corridors.

PR3.6 Continue to collect park impact fees within the Olympia City Limits and SEPA-based mitigation fees in the Olympia Urban Growth Areas so new development pays its fair share to the park and open space system based on its proportionate share of impact. Work with Thurston County to devise an alternative system for funding parks and open space in the unincorporated Urban Growth Area.

PR3.7 During development review, if consistent with park level of service standards or other needs, encourage developers to dedicate land for future parks, open space, and recreation facilities.

PR3.8 Develop parks or plazas near Urban Corridors.


An urban trails system interconnects parks, schools, neighborhoods, open spaces, historical settings, neighboring jurisdictions’ trails systems, important public facilities, and employment centers via both on- and off-street trails.

PR4.1 Coordinate with adjacent jurisdictions and State agencies to build a regional trail network and coordinated trail signage program that is consistent with the Thurston Regional Trails Plan.

PR4.2 Use existing rail, utility, and unopened street rights-of-way, alleys, streams (where environmentally sound), and other corridors for urban trails.

PR4.3 Preserve unimproved public rights-of-way for important open space, greenway linkages, and trails.

PR4.4 Encourage walking and bicycling for recreation and transportation purposes by linking parks to walking routes, streets and trails.

PR4.5 When located in areas where future trails are shown on the adopted map, ensure that new development provides appropriate pieces of the trail system using impact fees, the SEPA process, trail Right-of-Way dedication, or other means.


A lively public waterfront contributes to a vibrant Olympia.

PR5.1 Complete Percival Landing reconstruction and West Bay Park construction.

PR5.2 Encourage creation of a public shoreline trail as property north of West Bay Park is developed.

PR5.3 Develop a West Bay trail alignment that follows the shoreline and connects to Deschutes Parkway to the south.

PR5.4 Designate waterfront trails and important waterfront destinations as the "Olympia Waterfront Route" as outlined in the Thurston Regional Trails Plan.

PR5.5 Encourage the acquisition of saltwater shoreline property and easements to create more public access to the waterfront.

PR5.6 Preserve street rights-of-way when they extend to shorelands and install signs that indicate public access.


Olympia’s parks, arts and recreation system investments are protected.

PR6.1 Continue to implement and refine the City-wide Asset Management Program to make sure the City’s public facilities remain functional and safe for as long as they were designed for.

PR6.2 Establish a dedicated and sustainable funding source for maintaining City parks, landscape medians, roundabouts, entry corridors, street trees, City buildings, and other landscaped areas in street rights-of-way.

PR6.3 Protect the City’s investment from damage by vandalism, encampments, and other misuse in a manner that preserves the intended purpose.

PR6.4 Consider regional approaches to funding major recreational facilities, such as swimming pools, regional trails, art centers, and tournament-level athletic fields.

PR6.5 Establish a strategy for funding maintenance and operation of new park facilities before they are developed.


Permanent and temporary public art is located in parks, sidewalks, roundabouts, public buildings, alleys and other public spaces.

PR7.1 Include diverse works of art.

PR7.2 Ensure opportunities and participation by local, regional and national artists.

PR7.3 Use public art to create unique community places and visible landmarks.

PR7.4 Incorporate art into public spaces such as sidewalks, bridges, parking meters, tree grates, buildings, benches, bike racks and transit stops.

PR7.5 Encourage community participation at all levels of the public art process.

PR7.6 Ensure our public art collection is regularly maintained so it retains its beauty and value.

PR7.7 Encourage art in vacant storefronts.

PR7.8 Encourage neighborhood art studios.

PR7.9 Support art installations that produce solar or wind generated energy.

PR7.10 Help artists, organizations and businesses identify possible locations in commercial areas for studios and exhibition space.

PR7.11 Establish an "art in city buildings" program that would host rotating art exhibits.


Arts in Olympia are supported.

PR8.1 Pursue a regional community arts center.

PR8.2 Pursue affordable housing and studio/rehearsal space for artists, including support for, or participation in, establishing or constructing buildings or sections of buildings that provide living, work and gallery space exclusively for artists.

PR8.3 Encourage broad arts participation in the community.

PR8.4 Provide opportunities for the public to learn about and engage in the art-making process.

PR8.5 Provide opportunities that highlight the talent of visual, literary and performing artists.

PR8.6 Provide technical support to art organizations.

PR8.7 Establish and promote a theater and entertainment district in downtown Olympia.

PR8.8 Create a range of opportunities for the public to interact with art; from s mall workshops to large community events.

PR8.9 Encourage early arts education opportunities


Olympians enjoy lifelong happiness and wellness.

PR9.1 Provide opportunities that promote a mentally and physically active lifestyle and healthy food choices, including participation in local food production.

PR9.2 Provide programs and facilities that stimulate creative and competitive play for all ages.

PR9.3 Provide programs, facilities, and community events that support diverse self-expression.

PR9.4 Provide opportunities for bringing balance, relaxation, and lifelong learning into one’s life.


Families recreate together.

PR10.1 Enhance recreation opportunities for the Olympia area’s physically and mentally disabled populations.

PR10.2 Provide recreational opportunities for all family structures.

PR10.3 Work towards providing recreation programs that are affordable and available to all citizens.

PR10.4 Provide parks and programs to serve people of all ages, and with many different abilities, and interests.

PR10.5 Develop programs and design park facilities that encourage activities people can do together regardless of their age.

PR10.6 Provide convenient, safe, active, outdoor recreation experiences suited for families.

The goals related to habitat and environmental protection from the Natural Environment chapter and urban green space from the Land Use and Urban Design chapter of the Olympia Comprehensive Plan also guide OPARD’s efforts in the management of parks and open space. These include, but are not limited to:


Natural resources and processes are conserved and protected by Olympia’s planning, regulatory, and management activities.

PN1.4 Conserve and restore natural systems, such as wetlands and stands of mature trees, to contribute to solving environmental issues.

PN1.11 Design, build, and retrofit public projects using sustainable design and green building methods that require minimal maintenance and fit naturally into the surrounding environment.


Land is preserved and sustainably managed.

PN2.1 Acquire and preserve land by a set of priorities that considers environmental benefits, such as stormwater management, wildlife habitat, or access to recreation opportunities.

PN2.2 Preserve land when there are opportunities to make connections between healthy systems; for example, land parcels in a stream corridor.

PN2.3 Identify, remove, and prevent the use and spread of invasive plants and wildlife.

PN2.4 Preserve and restore native plants by including restoration efforts and volunteer partnerships in all city land management.

PN2.5 Design improvements to public land using existing and new vegetation that is attractive, adapted to our climate, supports a variety of wildlife, and requires minimal, long-term maintenance.

PN2.6 Conserve and restore wildlife habitat in both existing corridors and high-priority separate sites.

PN2.7 Practice sustainable maintenance and operations activities that reduce the City’s environmental impact.

PN2.8 Evaluate, monitor, and measure environmental conditions, and use this data to develop short- and long-term management strategies.


A healthy and diverse urban forest is protected, expanded, and valued for its contribution to the environment and community.

PN3.1 Manage the urban forest to professional standards, and establish program goals and practices based on the best scientific information available.

PN3.3 Preserve existing mature, healthy, and safe trees first to meet site design requirements on new development, redevelopment and city improvement projects.

PN3.6 Protect the natural structure and growing condition of trees to minimize necessary maintenance and preserve the long-term health and safety of the urban forest.


The waters and natural processes of Budd Inlet and other marine waters are protected from degrading impacts and significantly improved through upland and shoreline preservation and restoration.

PN4.1 Plan for the health and recovery of Budd Inlet on a regional scale and in collaboration with local tribes and all potentially affected agencies and stakeholders.

PN4.2 Prioritize and implement restoration efforts based on the best scientific information available to restore natural processes and improve the health and condition of Budd Inlet and its tributaries.

PN4.3 Restore and protect the health of Puget Sound as a local food source.

PN4.4 As a party of significant interest, support the process for determining a balanced, scientifically grounded and sustainable approach to the management of the Deschutes River, state-owned Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet.


Ground and surface waters are protected from land uses and activities that harm water quality and quantity.

PN5.2 Increase the use of permeable materials and environmentally-beneficial vegetation in construction projects.


Healthy aquatic habitat is protected and restored.

PN6.1 Restore and manage vegetation next to streams, with an emphasis on native vegetation, to greatly improve or provide new fish and wildlife habitat.

PN6.2 Maintain or improve healthy stream flows that support a diverse population of aquatic life.

PN6.6 Preserve and restore the aquatic habitat of Budd Inlet and other local marine waters.

PN6.7 Partner with other regional agencies and community groups to restore aquatic habitat through coordinated planning, funding, and implementation.


Risk to human health and damage to wildlife and wildlife habitat due to harmful toxins, pollution, or other emerging threats is tracked by appropriate agencies and significantly reduced or eliminated.

PN10.1 Minimize the City’s purchase and use of products that contribute to toxic chemical pollution when they are manufactured, used, or disposed.

PN10.3 Maintain City land and properties using non-chemical methods whenever possible; use standard Integrated Pest Management practices and other accepted, natural approaches to managing vegetation and pests.


Urban green space is available to the public and located throughout the community and incorporates natural environments into the urban setting, which are easily accessible and viewable so that people can experience nature daily and nearby.

PL7.2 Provide urban green spaces that are in people’s immediate vicinity and can be enjoyed or viewed from a variety of perspectives.

PL7.3 Establish a maximum distance to urban green space for everyone in the community.

PL7.4 Increase the area of urban green space and tree canopy within each neighborhood proportionate to increased population in that neighborhood.