Third parklet downtown Olympia will water plants

Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.’s spot will feature covered patio, with seating for 6 or 7 people

Staff writerJuly 19, 2013 

Volunteers work on a parklet in front of Darby's Cafe in Olympia on Saturday, August 11, 2012. The 8' x 24' parklet will feature bicycle parking, seating for the public, a public herb garden, and half of the parklet will be under an awning. (Lui Kit Wong/Staff photographer)

LUI KIT WONG — Staff photographer

Downtown Olympia is about to get its third “parklet,” a minipark placed in one or two parallel parking spots.

Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. will build the parklet in a parallel parking space in front of its coffee shop at 108 Cherry St. NE. It will take on the appearance of a small covered patio, with benches and chairs to seat six or seven people, said Brian Wilson, the city of Olympia’s downtown liaison.

“Yeah, I’m really excited about this one,” he said. “Their design is really taking it to the next level, in my opinion.”

Sam Schroeder, co-owner of Olympia Coffee Roasting, said the parklet will have a steel-frame structure with a sustainable decking material. The parklet features a “rain chain,” a chain that leads from the parklet’s sloped roof, leading water into a raised-bed garden without splattering, Wilson said.

Schroeder said it will be constructed off-site and brought in on a flatbed truck, fully installed. “It’s going to be very modular,” he said.

Work will take place before the end of the summer, Wilson said. It will join the city’s first two parklets, which debuted last year – in front of Darby’s Cafe at 211 Fifth Ave. SE and Jake’s on 4th at 311 Fourth Ave. E.

Schroeder said those parklets inspired the new one.

“I’ve seen the parklets around town and I think part of it is just I really love the idea of creating a space downtown, an interesting space,” he said.

The city of Olympia is allowing the parking spaces to be taken as part of its “placemaking” initiative to quickly add inexpensive public spaces to downtown. It’s borrowing the idea from San Francisco, which debuted the concept in 2010.

The Olympia City Council on Tuesday approved spending up to $3,500 in funds from the Parking and Business Improvement Area, or PBIA. The PBIA gets its funding by assessing business owners in the downtown core for improvements.

In turn, the coffee shop will be expected to match the PBIA funding with the cost of labor, Wilson said.

“The parklet would provide some much needed public space, visual interest and greenery along Cherry Street, a major pedestrian connection street from downtown to the new port development and esplanade,” the application for the parklet says.

All parklets are open to the general public, not just the patrons of the sponsoring business.

Wilson said the PBIA has funds for three more parklets, but just two applicants: Old School Pizzaria at 108 Franklin St. NE and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice for a parklet near its mural at State Avenue and Capitol Way. Those applications are pending.

“This is sort of a unique opportunity to create a space that people want to be at,” Schroeder said.

Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869

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