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Letter to the Editor: We oppose new courthouse at Dame Shirley Plaza

We are writing to oppose the construction of the new Plumas County courthouse building at Dame Shirley Plaza. This park is a beloved central hub of our community. To replace it with a large, highly secured government building and expansive parking lots would eliminate an important community gathering place, make Quincy less welcoming to outside visitors, and reduce the quality of life for Quincy residents.

As the only public park in downtown Quincy, Dame Shirley Plaza offers a welcoming entry point for out of town visitors. This inviting green space is the first thing you see when entering downtown and contributes significantly to the Quincy’s aesthetic charm. Many people have told us they were not planning to stop in Quincy until they saw Dame Shirley Plaza and decided instead to take a break from driving by stopping in the park before exploring downtown Quincy.  The Recreation Economy for Rural Communities Plan identified Dame Shirley Plaza as an ideal location to provide tourists with information about Plumas County and to promote local businesses.

Dame Shirley Plaza has served as a community gathering place since it was first established almost 30 years ago. The Veterans Memorial at Dame Shirley Plaza is the focal point for annual Veterans and Memorial Day observances and for personal reflections on the lives of Plumas County residents who sacrificed their lives in service to our country. A tree was recently planted at Dame Shirley Plaza as a memorial to a lost loved one.

Dame Shirley Plaza has provided an ideal central location for farmer’s markets, craft fairs, musical performances, dog obedience classes, science fairs, earth day celebrations, peaceful demonstrations, tai-chi classes, circus performances, a playground for the Charter School,  weddings, memorial services, birthday parties and countless other community gatherings. Dame Shirley Plaza is one of only three public parks in Quincy and the most easily accessible. The park is used daily by local residents to walk their dogs, enjoy a picnic with friends, or to sit quietly in the park enjoying a book.

The proposed courthouse building would not only eliminate Dame Shirley Plaza, but also destroy several surrounding buildings of historical significance. The large and extensive parking lots constructed for the new courthouse would dramatically alter the character of the historic downtown area. We urge the committee to recommend one of the two other potential sites for the new courthouse building, such as the location on Lawrence Street that would promote visitation to downtown businesses. Dame Shirley Plaza is a cherished part of our community that should be enjoyed by both residents and visitors for generations to come.

Sincerely, Friends of Dame Shirley

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