Relief is on the way: park to get new restroom

For several years, Waterfront Park users in need of a restroom have had to sprint to downtown businesses or hold their breath and use one of park’s portable toilets.

But park users may finally get relief. The City Council on Monday earmarked $295,000 to build new restroom and shower facilities at the park in the coming year.

Councilman Bob Scales raised the issue during a workshop on the 2005 city budget, citing a long delay and many discussions to establish new facilities.

“We could talk all day about restrooms,” Scales said.

“Or three years,” Councilman Bill Knobloch added.

Waterfront Park’s worn and insect-damaged restroom facilities were demolished in 2001. Since then, the city has issued draft plans for a new restroom and sought grant funding.

But the public appeared tired of waiting, with over 70 percent of respondents to a city-sponsored survey in January expressing a strong desire for restrooms at the park. When asked where they wanted the restroom located, some respondents offered such comments as “Somewhere!” and “WHEREVER.”

It’s still unclear where the restrooms would go, but designs for the Waterfront Park Master Plan show a restroom facility below the tennis court. The proposed budget allotment would cover all building costs, Scales said.

Harbormaster Tami Allen proposed seeking state grants for the construction early this year.

But the council Monday decided not to wait for state help.

“The public wants restrooms on the waterfront, so let’s get this done, with or without a grant,” said Knobloch.

“Having port-o-potties puts a bad face on our park for visitors,” Scales said. “They’re not visually pleasing and are not nice to use. We’ve waited long enough.”

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