One year after the Olympia beautified its downtown artesian well, the city has plans for a multitude of other improvements at the well’s site at an old parking lot near Fourth Avenue and Jefferson Street.
A stage, tables and chairs, a pingpong table and mobile food vendors are all part of a conceptual plan the city is presenting for public comment. The estimated cost: $100,000 for the first phase, and another $100,000 for a second phase that could include basketball courts.
The city has identified funds for the first phase, and the second could occur later, said Dave Okerlund, parks planning manager for the city. After getting public input, city staff will bring a plan to the Olympia City Council in several months, he said. The council will have the final say.
According to the draft plan, the idea is to transform a site that is “currently under-used” to a “multi-purpose, urban outdoor courtyard offering a combination of active and passive uses designed and managed to promote positive behaviors.”
The city has incorporated ideas it has received from the public, including the Olympia Downtown Association, Parking and Business Improvement area and others, Okerlund said.
A major design element is a faux creek, a collection of solid blue tiles mimicking a creek flowing from the well to Fourth Avenue.
Under the plan, people would enter the well site under a steel arch on Fourth Avenue with the words “Artesian Court.”
Nearby would be a new performance stage, raised a half-foot off the ground and with electrical service. Just past that, moveable tables and chairs would be set to be used for “eating, reading, chess, checkers, card playing or just ‘hanging out.’ ” The tables and chairs would be secured at night.
Diners could get their food at new mobile food vendors that would park on the west side of the courtyard.
A retractable awning would offer protection from the rain during the day but would be retracted and locked at night.
The existing asphalt of the parking lot would be retained, but thermoplastic tile would be added to break up the area.
Two half-court basketball courts would be installed with backboards in the second phase.
Adjoining buildings could get new murals depicting historic street scenes. An outdoor pingpong table would complete the scene, along with tree planters.
Besides money, the improvements would cost parking. The lot has about 80 parking spaces now, which employees at City Hall use. The phase one improvements would take about a third of those spaces and the second phase would take about a third of the rest. The rest would remain for the public and for city fleet vehicles.
The improvements would be in addition to $66,000 worth of work at the site dedicated in December 2011. The project included a mosaic-decorated platform to fill bottles, solar lighting, stamped concrete, posts for flower baskets and a community bulletin board.