The Artesian Well Park in downtown Olympia is a disaster. Street people have taken it over as a place to hang out and be seen. The solution to this problem is in behavioral restrictions, not architectural alterations.
First off, believing that creating a centralized, downtown, hang-out site with clean drinking water, picnic tables and a west wall for morning sun and afternoon shade would not attract street people is incredibly out of touch. That’s right up there with believing dumping 20 pounds of hamburger in an off-leash park wouldn’t attract dogs to it.
Second, I’ve always remembered how my father dealt with an excess of hornets one summer at our lake cabin. While everybody else used poison sprays or bait traps set right where they sat around, my father had us catch small fish (mostly perch) and then he’d hang them on tree branches just off the far end of the porch where we almost never went. That way the hornets stayed away from us and still got to be there.
Rather than spend $25,000 to build a basketball court at the Artesian Well Park, spend that money to create a separate space for street people to go that keeps them away from where we want tax paying citizens to occur. Then control the use by only allowing people to sit on the ground or set backpacks down at the Homeless Park and specifically not at the Artesian Well Park. Street people aren’t bad, but they do have their own vibe.