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Green space: Lompoc cannabis dispensary transforms downtown vacant lot into gathering spot
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Green space: Lompoc cannabis dispensary transforms downtown vacant lot into gathering spot

A vacant lot in downtown Lompoc has been cleaned and renovated by a neighboring cannabis business, which is looking to transform the space into an Old Town gathering spot.

Leaders at Elevate Lompoc, a cannabis dispensary at 118 South H St., marked their store’s one-year anniversary by working out an agreement last month that will allow the dispensary to use the small lot immediately to the south for a wide range of events and promotions. When not in use by the dispensary, the new-look pocket park will be open to the public as a community garden, or simply as a green space for relaxation.

Rob McKee, the dispensary’s regional sales manager, said the motivation to refurbish the lot — which was done at Elevate Lompoc’s expense — was borne from a desire to “promote the community coming together, and to promote knowledge about cannabis.”

“Lompoc’s been awesome,” he said, noting his shop’s desire to help boost the entire Old Town business community. “Honestly, it’s a great community.”

The management at Elevate Lompoc has some lofty ideas for the space, which is bordered by the Greenhouse Collective, another dispensary, to its south.

Elevate Lompoc negotiated a deal with Daniel Hyun, who owns the lot, that will allow the dispensary to rent out the space and use it during its normal business hours.

Dispensary employees, and other workers contracted by Elevate Lompoc, cleared out the space over the latter half of June. That work included bringing in a skip loader to remove much of the trash and debris that had collected in the space while it sat vacant for the past 20-plus years.

“The amount of broken bottles in this lot was crazy,” McKee said. “It was unreal.”

After that, the dispensary erected a fence to close in the lot — dispensary-related events are only open to people ages 21 and older, necessitating the barrier — and designed a walkway and installed picnic tables.

So far, Elevate Lompoc has held an anniversary celebration, as well as a promotion on July 10 to celebrate “710” or “Dab Day,” a holiday of sorts in cannabis culture.

For those gatherings, the dispensary invited food trucks and set up games and activities within the pocket park. Those included an adult bounce house — again, no kids allowed during cannabis events — and educational programs, like growing tips from a cannabis farmer, and on-site glass-blowing demonstrations from glass artist Lydia Leung.

Among future ideas, McKee said Elevate Lompoc is considering acquiring a large, inflatable screen that the dispensary could use after sundown to screen “stoner movies” in the space.

Further, a yoga enthusiast involved with the dispensary is looking at offering outdoor yoga classes in the park.

“It’s gonna be cool,” said Eric Minicucci, who works in operations at Elevate Lompoc. “This space will be really nice.”

Last September, Elevate Lompoc was involved in a minor dispute with Hyun after the lot’s owner ordered the removal of a large mural that jutted from the outer southern wall of Elevate Lompoc and into the lot, which at that time was mostly covered in dirt and debris. Hyun wanted the space cleared so that he could sell it, while the dispensary owners wanted to keep up the mural until such a sale actually took place.

While the mural was ultimately taken down at that time, Minicucci said that Elevate Lompoc is considering installing another mural. He said the business has had discussions with representatives of the Lompoc Mural Society about putting up one of the art pieces that the Mural Society has in storage, or the dispensary may look into commissioning a new, custom piece.

Any new artwork would likely need to be contained on the Elevate Lompoc property and not jut into the park.

“We’re just trying to fit Lompoc and the Old Town vibe,” Minicucci said.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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Willis Jacobson covers news and other issues, primarily those that affect the Lompoc Valley and Vandenberg Air Force Base for the Lompoc Record. He is a graduate of The University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.

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