Artesian well in Olympia seeing steady stream of problems

OLYMPIA -- The city of Olympia is considering closing down a park that just opened in May.

The Artesian Commons  is home to a popular artesian well, that never stops flowing, with a steady stream of people armed with bottles ready to fill up.

"It’s so pure," said Kenny Brooks.

At 92, Brooks says the well water is keeping him young. "I’ve been drinking it since 1959."

As popular as the well is, most people who come for the water are not fans of coming to the park.

"Lately, with what’s going on here, I get a little bit nervous," said Clifford Ikerd, another fan of the well.

Olympia police are hearing lots of complaints from people who live and work around the park, about drug use, vandalism, and violence.

While waiting to fill his container with water, Leland Harmell witnessed one man hanging in the park smoking drugs just a foot away from Harmell’s 2-year-old son.

"This is the Olympia well," said Harmell. "It should be a place where I can bring my children safely."

Nighttime apparently beings even more problems. Police have stepped up patrols and made several recent drug arrests.

But the city is not sure what to do. The park cost $250,000 to create, and has been there less than a year.

The City Council is considering temporarily closing the park while the city comes up with some solutions. A meeting is scheduled for the end of the month to discuss ideas about what to do with the park.

The fresh, pure water will always make it an attraction, but users like Harmell also want something done to make it safer.

"To better this place for families to come and get water. It’s not just about the water that’s here. It’s about being in Olympia."