Dame Shirley Plaza supporters bring petition to Board of Supervisors

By Debra Moore

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As anticipated, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors room was packed the morning of July 11 as many wanted to address Dame Shirley Plaza during the public comment portion of the board meeting. Dame Shirley Plaza is believed to be the state’s leading candidate for a new courthouse in Quincy, but there are two other locations under consideration as well. A group called Friends of Dame Shirley has formed to oppose the selection of the plaza.

Kyle Merriam addressed the board first and presented a petition that she said was signed by almost “1,500 people, including current and former Plumas county residents, as well as tourists and visitors from across the country, who oppose the construction of the new Plumas County courthouse in Dame Shirley Plaza.” She described Dame Shirley Plaza as a “central hub for our community that contributes significantly to our quality of life here.” Whereas, the other two potential locations — the Feather Publishing building on Lawrence Street and the Stone House in East Quincy — “are largely vacant buildings and abandoned lots,” she said.

Merriam acknowledged that the Board of Supervisors isn’t the entity that chooses the site — that decision falls to the state judicial council, but recommendations are made. “Public engagement, including participation from local elected officials, has been heavily weighted by Public Advisory Groups in other counties. However, there has not yet been an opportunity for the public to provide comments during the site selection process here in Plumas County,” Merriam said. She asked that the board provide such an opportunity.

That sentiment was echoed by Aleece Oravetz, who supports public informational meetings regarding site selection. “It is important to begin doing them now,” she said. Oravetz asked for a timeline for the selection process, next steps, criteria, a scoring method, etc.

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Kenny Davis brought a personal perspective to the subject. “When I was 14, I watched the hotel burn down,” he said. Dame Shirley Plaza has been the site of three hotels — all of which burned to the ground — the latest being Hotel Quincy in 1966. (Read more about the history of the hotels on Dame Shirley Plaza here.)

Subsequently, “I watched my daughter growing up playing in the park,” he said, and he has performed there many times as a musician. “We can choose to keep it or lose it; I am in favor of keeping it,” he said.

The supervisors typically don’t respond during public comment, but later in the meeting when discussing the correspondence they have received since the last meeting, District 3 Supervisor Tom McGowan  said he received a large amount of input on Dame Shirley Plaza. “My personal opinion is that’s not the right place for it,” he said.

Patrick Morrison, who is a senior facilities analyst for the Judicial Council of California, said that a timeline should be made available this week for the courthouse site selection, but information is still being amassed from consultants.

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Quincy resident John Kolb, who serves on the site selection advisory committee, said that committee members have been told to expect more information on the sites in August.

2 thoughts on “Dame Shirley Plaza supporters bring petition to Board of Supervisors

  • It would be a shame to lose the beautiful park that is Dame Shirley Plaza. Not much of Quincy is so attractive and pleasant t! Why would you want to replace this species place with another utilitarian building and parking lot? Put it down closer to the new jail or; really, anywhere else!

  • What about the old Armory building? It’s located between the jail and sheriff’s office….

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