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Where We Stand: Dame Shirley isn’t the right option for the courthouse

By Friends of Dame Shirley

The decision of where to build the new Plumas County court building (mandated by the State of California) provides our Quincy community the rare opportunity to increase our economic vitality and to do so with the outside dollars of state-funded construction. If we leverage this opportunity, Quincy will be able to draw more patrons for our local businesses and develop elements of our downtown that attract both visitor and resident dollars.

We need to choose the site of the new court carefully. While the location must accommodate the new state requirements, we have to be careful not to be short-sighted by selecting a location that negatively impacts the appeal of our downtown, further decreasing the customer base of our downtown merchants. Massive asphalt parking lots and 54,000 square foot concrete buildings destroy downtowns unless sited and designed with care. If they didn’t, we would all move next to an office park or mall.

Over the last 60 years, city planners and developers have realized that economically successful communities cannot just rely on providing jobs. In addition, they have found that communities only grow in desirability and attractiveness when commercial and residential areas are attractive, walkable, and welcoming environments for their residents to shop, work, and rest in. Shopping and business districts that plant trees and flowers enjoy increased customers, despite the competition of large box stores and online shopping and services. Community planners now realize that the proximity to parks promotes community gatherings which increases resident satisfaction, community attractiveness, and results in higher community property values for all.

Whereas building the new court building in other areas of Quincy would revitalize those locations with a well-funded new building and low water landscaping to mitigate the negative visual effect of expanses of asphalt, building the new court building and parking lot on Dame Shirley will eliminate the large green park that currently helps to draw visitors and locals downtown. As a new state building, the new courts building will not be allowed to keep grass areas. Should the county sell the property to the state, the large, inviting expanse of grass that currently provides cool respites for Pacific Crest Trail hikers, Harley and mountain bikers, out-of-town picnickers, and dogs from all over, will have to be torn out. The customer base for the neighboring restaurants, lodgings, and merchants will decrease, not rise, in fact, it will be further eroded.

Join the effort to help support our local merchants, by keeping our downtown attractive, walkable, and growing. The two other sites being considered are The Feather River Publishing building (across from the Post Office) and the Old Stone House in East Quincy. Both of these locations would benefit from a new courthouse without having to destroy a beautiful community park.
Join the supporters of Friends of Dame Shirley in contacting your county supervisor ([email protected], [email protected], Tom [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or call (530) 283-6170) to express your support and/or seek public input meetings and transparency of the decision-making process to ensure our merchants and our residents benefit from this decision.

13 thoughts on “Where We Stand: Dame Shirley isn’t the right option for the courthouse

  • Move the operations temporarily and build the new courthouse on the existing site. It looks beautiful when people drive into town and it is really the best location.

    • Our current court house is a historic and architecturally gorgeous inside and out building. Destroy it? How about we restore and maintain it. When the courts move out bring the probation department back downtown. That kind of a project would kill downtown for sure as all of the workers from the courthouse would be located elsewhere for several years. And who what’s to pull over and shop or walk in a construction zone

      • Deb Hopkins. The current courthouse is NOT being destroyed. It will remain as is. The state is requiring upgrades to security for the three courtrooms, which cannot be fixed at the current building. The new building would house three courtrooms and the Superior Court Clerk’s office, with judges chambers, a room for attorneys to be able to talk to their clients, a few other things I’m probably forgetting, and secure entrances for inmates being transported to court from the jail. This move would give offices currently in the courthouse room to expand.

  • This is a well-written article, laying out significant reasons why Dame Shirley Park is not an optimum site for a new courthouse. Either of the other sites under consideration would be much more beneficial to the town of Quincy. In particular, the Feather River Publishing site is close to the town center and would accommodate a new building with minimal negative impact. I love downtown Quincy’s lovely park, tree-lined streets, and architecturally beautiful courthouse building. I fear that a courthouse building on the Dame Shirley site would eliminate an attractive aspect of the town and a focal point for so many community events.

    • Per a friend who was a Real Estate lawyer for the state, location has to meet certain criteria.
      Plus not sure Cobey is set to sell the Feather Pub. building.

    • What is wrong with the field across from the airport?? Plenty of room and close to town!

      • That field is in the Airport Zone, where FAA regulations require that not more than 30 people can be there at a time.

    • Has the large lot behind the garden apartments been considered?
      It would be a bit of work but it’s very near businesses and has not been used to its potential.
      It’s also not very far from the original location. The added bonus would be building closer to the front of the lot and having the back be a large parking lot. Having accessible parking that isn’t right in sight would help reduce being an eye sore.

  • Nancie, the current courthouse is NOT being torn down. Just a new building needs to be built somewhere to give more security to the courtrooms, more space in crowded offices, etc.

  • From what I hear, they would close off court street and that would be grass. Feather Publishing doesn’t own the property in front, so would you really want a courthouse tucked in behind the paint store and the metal building. Now there’s a draw for the town.

  • What about the “new” existing courthouse in Portola the has been sitting empty for years? Why has this facility not been used?

  • I hope that Portola courthouse suggestion will just go away. Quincy IS our county seat. There are many residents in Chester and the Lake Almanor Basin that already have to drive clear to Quincy for all of our court and county needs, not to mention jury duty. How would folks in Portola feel about having to come clear to Chester for jury duty? I’m thinking that would not appeal to anyone over there. It’s a long drive, especially in the winter. This should never be even considered as an option.

  • For those suggestions alternate locations for the new courthouse, it’s too late. Reality is we are getting a new courthouse and it will be either at Dame Shirley, the Feather River Publishing site, or the Stonehouse site. No other site will be considered, it will be one of these, let’s just hope for the sake of the town it’s NOT Dame Shirley Plaza!

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