Until 1977, warehouses and other industrial structures dominated Olympia’s waterfront, making it inaccessible to the public.
Through the vision of citizen Irene Christie and the League of Women Voters, along with the support of elected officials, the first section of Percival Landing opened as a public park in 1978. Key to their success was a decision by then-Lands Commissioner Bert Cole in 1976 to re-designate certain areas of the waterfront as “Public Places,” allowing for recreational use in areas formerly used for industry.
A Regional Urban Design Team (RUDAT) report in 1979 encouraged the expansion of the public Landing to the north and the west. Additional construction phases in 1984 and 1988 completed the park. As of 2011, the public access includes almost 1 mile of waterfront access with a 3.3 acre park. A Levy Improvement District, or LID, helped finance the completion of Percival Landing to the North and the West.
In 2010, the American Planning Association designated Percival Landing a Great Place in America, specifically for the long-standing commitment of City leaders and residents in making Olympia’s waterfront available for the public’s use and benefit.
August 25, 2011 is another day in history for Percival Landing. After seven years of visioning, planning, funding, permitting and construction, the reconstructed facility was reopened, continuing the long history of public access to Puget Sound at the front door to Olympia’s Capital City.