No need to wait

Published 1:42 am Sunday, December 18, 2011

Washington’s Festival Park, as it continues to be polished into a waterfront gem, is worth the money — at least $600,000 — invested in it.
It’s a shame the city did not spend money on “winterizing” or “weatherizing” the new, public restrooms so they may be used in cold weather. Learning that those restrooms are closed during the winter bothered us greatly.
If the answer to the question of why weren’t those restrooms “winterized” is because of budgetary reasons, that’s not an acceptable answer. The city should have allocated money so those restrooms are open throughout the year. Granted, Festival Park won’t be used as much during the winter as in spring, summer and fall, but it will be used.
Festival Park, with its new performance venue, would be a great place for some of the events and activities associated with the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships coming up in February 2012. Alas, with the existing restrooms at Festival Park closed during the winter, having those events and activities Festival Park likely would require the use of port-a-potties.
Why bring in port-a-potties when new restrooms are right there?
Mayor Pro Tempore Bobby Roberson addressed the matter during the council’s meeting Monday. On a recent Sunday, Roberson said, he visited the children’s playground at Festival Park and found people using it.
“I said, ‘How do you like the park,’” Roberson told the council. “They said, ‘Well, we love the park, but we’ve got children down here.’ I said, ‘Well, what’s the problem?’ They said, ‘Well, the bathrooms are not open.’ And I’m saying, ‘Why aren’t the bathrooms open?’ I made a call, and guess what I was told? ‘Well, they’re winterized.’ Which means they’re closed up for the winter.”
Roberson said the city’s got to do a better job with some of its public facilities.
“If we’ve got the facilities, maybe we should put a sign on that says ‘close for the winter.’”
Roberson said people who visit the park have expectations they will be able to use the restrooms there, even during the winter. He’s right. Park visitors have those expectations. The city should see to it those expectations are met as soon as possible.