Olympia moving to address blight

OLYMPIA — An Olympia City Council committee is moving forward with plans to declare parts of Olympia blighted under a state law to acquire and revitalize properties.

The committee will inerview two consultants competing to work on the blight issue, ECONorthwest of Portland and the National Development Council of New York.

State law allows cities to declare what’s called a Community Renewal Area, in which cities can acquire property and sell to the private sector for redevelopment.

No boundaries for the renewal area or areas have been set; that will be part of the consultant’s work. Mayor Steve Buxbaum has suggested several areas: downtown, the isthmus, the burnt-out Griswold’s building on Fourth Avenue, the area of Harrison Avenue and Division Street, Martin Way and the old city dump, next to Top Foods off Cooper Point Drive.

Olympia has $80,000 budgeted to spend on the Community Renewal Area issue and a state grant worth $25,000 if downtown is included in the renewal area, city planning director Keith Stahley said. The process to declare an area blighted requires public process and could take a year, he said.