Above: Alicia Elliott and volunteers weed the public sidewalk near West Central Park today. Elliott is expected to sign papers on Tuesday to purchase the nearby DeGarmo's Compounding Pharmacy building.
By Janine Unsoeld
Alicia Elliott is expected to sign and finalize a contract on Tuesday, June 17th to buy the DeGarmo’s Compounding Pharmacy building near the corner of Harrison and Division on Olympia’s Westside.The Olympian newspaper reported in a story on June 5 that Richard DeGarmo was retiring after working as a pharmacist for 50 years.
Elliott owns the property next door to DeGarmo’s on the busy, auto-centric corner of Harrison and Division. Now called West Central Park, Elliott saved the property in 2013 from future land use speculation and development to create the privately owned, public use park. The property was most recently proposed to be developed into a 7-Eleven convenience store.The park, adjacent to two major neighborhoods, is in an area zoned by the city of Olympia as a high density corridor.
While busy weeding the cracks in the public sidewalk today on Division Street, Elliott said she is excited about signing the contract.“It's an exciting development for West Central Park…the building will be home to a café that will service the park directly and will include a small commercial kitchen that will be able to support food carts hosted by the park. It’s a way to nurture small business - by offering the kitchen, we'll be extending the operating hours of the food trucks….From the beginning, our plan was to have a park café that could help keep the park in the black far into the future. Having the café at DeGarmo's is even better than having a new café on park grounds, because there is paved parking and potential access from Cushing Street built into the pharmacy parking.”
DeGarmo’s also has a restroom, which will be available to patrons of the café. Elliott said she has future plans to build two additional restrooms, one for daytime use, and one 24 hour restroom.“We have a lot of lunchtime walkers from the Capital Place Retirement Center down the road who need a restroom, and we look forward to providing one for them,” said Elliott.
Without fail, regardless of wind, rain, or snow, drivers and other passersby have witnessed the regular Sunday work parties that have kept the park immaculately groomed throughout the year. Encouraged by Elliott’s weekly updates, between four and fifteen volunteers turn out to help each week.
Plenty of attractive plants, including some edibles, gravel and walkway pavers, picnic tables, and cleverly decorated traffic barriers are testimony to their constant hard work.
Above: Compost bins at the south end of the park feature a view of an edible garden and the property at the corner of Harrison and Division in Olympia.
To stay up-to-date about future work parties, news, and progress at the park, go to www.aparkforus.org.
For past stories about West Central Park and to see pictures from last year's June Jubilee, go to www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and type key words into the search button.For more about the history of West Central Park, go to www.oly-wa.us/greenpages/Article.php?id=2013;05;201305h.