Council to discuss public bathrooms for downtown

Published 9:10 pm Sunday, January 11, 2009

By Staff
Several local groups suggest replacing ‘temporary’ facilities
Contributing Editor
Once again, Washington’s City Council will discuss where to locate new public bathrooms in the downtown/waterfront area.
The discussion is scheduled for the council’s meeting Monday.
The city’s Planning Board, after much discussion, recommends the new bathrooms replace the “temporary” bathrooms located next to the dock attendants’ office near the intersection of Stewart Parkway and West Main Street. The board also discussed locating the bathrooms near the above-ground sewer pumping station near the North Carolina Estuarium. It also talked about building two bathrooms at “either end of Stewart Parkway for public service and accessibility,” according to a memorandum from Bobby Roberson, the city’s planning and development director, to the mayor and council members.
The city’s Recreation Advisory Committee recognizes the need for a public bathroom near the Estuarium, according to the memorandum. Last week, the city’s planning office conducted two public hearings regarding where the new bathrooms should be located.
Among organizations that favor locating the new bathrooms where the temporary bathrooms are located are Downtown Washington on the Waterfront, Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, Washington Tourism Development Authority, Historic Downtown Washington Merchants Association, Citizens for Revitalization and the Recreation Advisory Committee.
The city has been struggling with where to locate the bathrooms in the downtown/waterfront area for several years. In October 2008, the council narrowed the list of possible locations to three sites — where the temporary bathrooms are located, the public parking area next to the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and relocating the former Cottage Service Station on West Second Street to a place on Stewart Parkway and converting it into public bathrooms.
A representative from the Washington Area Historic Foundation is expected to attend Monday’s meeting to discuss that proposal, according to Roberson’s memorandum.
During previous discussions about building new public bathrooms, there has been talk whether or not to include showers, laundry facilities and a dock master’s office to serve boaters who use the city’s docks and visit the waterfront.
Several visitors to recent downtown and waterfront events have complained about the lack of public bathrooms. Others have complained about the temporary public bathrooms being closed during some of those events.
The council meets at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St.