The popular artesian well in the City of Olympia parking lot at Fourth Avenue and Jefferson Street will see some much- needed improvements in 2011.
Granted, the $50,000 project falls short of creating an aesthetically pleasing community gathering place centered around the free-flowing well used by countless community members.
However, it will provide an elevated bench to hold water containers, lighting to make the site more secure, trash cans to discourage litter and a community announcement board.
In addition, three parking stalls in the 82-stall lot the city purchased from Diamond Parking of Seattle last summer will be reserved for well users.
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This is an appropriately sized project in light of the tough economic times. It is a good, short-term decision that keeps the long-term dream alive for an even more appealing artesian water park in the future.
The city worked with H2Olympia, a grassroots artesian well advocacy group on the latest project. Recall, H2Olympia stepped into the void created when Friends of Artesians disbanded in 2009 after working for nearly two decades to preserve an artesian well site — either this one or a new one — in downtown Olympia.
There’s been much uncertainty over the years about the future of the aging well, which isn’t in the best location to guarantee preservation and protection from pollution.
However, when the city purchased the parking lot, the City Council made it clear it was with the goal in mind of preserving the well.
The well improvements slated for 2011 are the latest step in the right direction.