Wishing Well Supporters Urge Council to Save Local Free Box

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday June 23, 2006

More than 50 supporters of the Wishing Well came to Tuesday’s City Council meeting to request the city save the 35-year-old recycling box on the sidewalk median strip of the 1700 block of Channing Way. 

A life-size cardboard cut-out of the Wishing Well was on display at the meeting along with posters, flyers and supporters dressed up in fairytale garb to support the well. 

Residents of Channing/Roosevelt/ McGee neighborhood have exchanged clothing and other useful items at this free box for the last four decades. A petition asking the city to remove the recycling amenity was received on April 17, signed by some of the block’s residents.  

Supporters of the freebox claim that the box’s use of the sidewalk strip precedes the encroachment ordinance by many years. The removal of this last neighborhood free box was ordered by the city manager’s office on May 16. 

“I have grown up in this neighborhood as a foster child and the free box is the only sign which told me whether any human being cared if I lived or died,” Nancy Delaney told councilmembers during the public hearing session. 

Barbara Cappa, a Well Wisher—an informal group formed to save the free box—informed councilmembers about the positive effect the well had on the neighborhood. 

“It’s not perfect, but it’s not violent or noisy either,” she said. “Six hundred people have signed the petition to save the well. We request the council to think carefully before making a decision.” 

Wes Ikenchi said that the well was an embodiment of nurturing, caring, and compassion, which was what the city itself stood for.  

Councilmember Donna Spring said that it was a great tool for recycling and that it was in the city’s best interest to preserve it. 

Councilmember Betty Olds added, “It’s too good to be true that there is such a free box in the city and that it is so well maintained.” 

The council and the city manager decided that the case would be reviewed once again in hopes that some kind of agreement could be reached with the neighbors.