Olympia council wants Inaugural Ball to stay in town

The Olympia City Council passed a resolution this month asking the organizers of the Governor’s Inaugural Ball to bring the soiree, scheduled for Jan. 16, back to the Capitol Campus, where it has been held since 1985.

The ball’s organizing committee is planning to hold it at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey this year, saying it will be more convenient and accessible.

The City Council’s resolution:

 • Asks for the committee to “do everything within its power” to hold the ball at the Capitol.

 • Declares a “city day of celebration” on Jan. 16 and encourages festivals and inaugural balls to take place throughout the city.

 • Suspends all municipal parking fees for the day and encourages other parking facilities to do the same.

“It’s about us as the capital city of Washington state rolling out the red carpet for the new governor’s administration,” said Councilman Jim Cooper, who pushed for the resolution.

“It’s an exciting day, and the whole city should be celebrating.”

Cooper suggested that people form balls throughout the city, much as Washington, D.C., does for Inauguration Day.

“I really do envision an opportunity for this community to grow what that day means and really grow it into a great celebration,” he said.

Lisa Cosmillo, spokeswoman for the ball committee, said last month that the nonprofit group has entered into a contract with Saint Martin’s to use its pavilion and adjoining Worthington Center, which can jointly accommodate 5,000 people. She said parking and the stairs on the Capitol Campus were a challenge and that the organization has had to run shuttles.

She also noted that balls have been held elsewhere in state history.