New Secretary of State wants to see Heritage Center completed

Newly elected Secretary of State Kim Wyman announced Friday she would like to relaunch a plan to build the Heritage...

Newly elected Secretary of State Kim Wyman announced Friday she would like to relaunch a plan to build the Heritage Center on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.

When completed, the $142 million center would house the State Archives, State Library, historical exhibits, an educational center and other features. The Heritage Center was approved by the Legislature in 2007, but an economic downturn and state budget woes forced the project to be suspended before groundbreaking could begin.

Wyman said Friday the improving economy and budget situation are signs that now is the time for the Heritage Center project to resume.

“We need to move forward with the Heritage Center and build it on the Capitol Campus so visitors of all ages can learn more about the history and heritage of our great state,” said Wyman. “It would be the one place on campus that actually highlights Washington’s past. Legislators approved it before because they knew it was a good idea, and it’s still a good idea that needs to happen.”

Former Secretary of State Sam Reed, who retired when his third term ended this month, strongly supported the plan.

Governor Gregoire’s final operating budget proposal supports many requests by the Office of Secretary of State. The Gregoire budget, however, would reduce General Fund support for the State Library by 6.7 percent, according to Wyman. The State Library is a division of the Office of Secretary of State. Remaining state support would be provided permanently by the Heritage Account, which Wyman believes should be retained for its intended purpose of construction of the Heritage Center.

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