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.