'This town has gone right down the toilet'

'This town has gone right down the toilet' »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- People here in Yakima are upset after seeing crews demolishing a park downtown. Yakima actually doesn't own the park. The woman who does asked for it to be torn up after the city rejected her plan to put in a new Starbucks.

Block by Block members usually focus on improving downtown Yakima not destroying it. However, crews were out there Tuesday, chipping away pavers at the park on the corner of Yakima Ave and Second Street. The city gave orders to demolish this green space in the heart of downtown.

"These two tree structures here will be taken out, put in one of the parks all the pavers are coming out now,” said Block by Block manger Matt Klaus.

The city got a request to return the park to its original state. The next step is to take out the irrigation system which will kill the grass and putting a fence around the perimeter.

"It's sad,” said Dorothy Ayer. “It is. I was very sad to hear that, this is not going to help Yakima."

Ayer is just visiting, but said she can't believe the city is allowing this. However Yakima has no choice.

It doesn't own the property, Terry Powell does and she was just letting Yakima use it at least until last week. That’s when she gave the city 15-days to remove anything on the property. Powell sent the letter shortly after her request to put in a Starbucks was denied by Yakima.

"To have the reaction to put basically an (eye) sore downtown is not a good thing," said Dave Eastlick.

Downtown visitors may not like it, but business owners told Action News they understand why she did it.

"I see both ways, you know, she's mad,” said Jim Rosal who owns the business next door. “She didn't get her land sold. I can understand that. But then I can see the city has rules and stuff they got to follow."

Others aren’t as understanding.

"My only hope is Tony O'Rourke has a big broom and a big shovel because it needs to be used because this town has gone right down the toilet," said Mike Murphy.

The downtown Yakima park will only look worse unless the owner changes her mind or the park changes ownership.

Yakima has until the end of the month to restore the property to its original state. Fencing is scheduled to go up next month.

Action News reached out to the property owner several times to get her side. We were not able to reach her.