By Averil Kimble
Member of Friends of Dame Shirley Plaza
There are a lot of new yard signs and banners popping up around Quincy reading “Save Dame Shirley Plaza – Build the Courthouse Somewhere Else.”Are you wondering what this is about?
First of all, it’s not a political statement. A group calling themselves “Friends of Dame Shirley Plaza” are attempting to sway the Board of Supervisors to not sell Dame Shirley Plaza (just west of the Courthouse in Quincy) to the State to build a State courthouse and parking lots. Instead, they want it to remain as a green space where many local events are held, as well as everyday enjoyment by locals and visitors. According to mandates, the State does not provide for any green space around their facilities.
The State (which uses space for court business and approximately a dozen employees in the current Courthouse, paying Plumas County for use) was planning to build a new courthouse on this site over a decade ago. The State has been building new courthouses in counties, in order to provide for the safety and accessibility required by the State for court related business.
Plumas County bought the property many years ago to use as a site for administrative offices (but decided to build an annex by FRC). With California budget problems, building courthouses was put off for many years. During that time, improvements were made to the Plaza, including sod (donated by High Sierra Music Festival), trees, tables/benches, and the Veterans Memorial. Now, the State is ready to build a new facility in Quincy.
It is a lengthy and detailed process. A local committee “Public Advisory Group” (PAG) was appointed and, following state directives, provided information which identified local properties that might fit state criteria. With the extensive requirements, only three properties were deemed appropriate: #1 Dame Shirley Plaza, #2 Feather River Publishing (on Lawrence Street, across from the Post Office), and #3 the Stone House property in East Quincy.
The process, according to State directives, is to include input from the community. As there has been no public informational meetings about the process, the “Friends of Dame Shirley Park” are asking that the owners of the Plaza (the County) provide public meetings to gain community input. There is a rating system for the selection process, that this group is requesting the results, in order to better understand the process.
Over 1,500 signatures have been collected locally, and presented to the Board of Supervisors, stating their objection to turning the Plaza into a State courthouse and large parking area.