Paso Robles’ Downtown City Park is set to finally get new restrooms — which many residents say are greatly needed.
“We’ve been holding it for a long time,” joked Norma Moye, executive director for the Paso Robles Main Street Association, which holds numerous events at the downtown hub.
The timeline for construction has not been determined.
The current restrooms, estimated to be several decades old, have been described as old, dingy and a place many people avoid.
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Before the City Council unanimously agreed to replace the aging facility at its Sept. 7 meeting, the public spoke about why new restrooms are needed.
One woman said she refuses to let her grandchildren use the restrooms, which are located next to the children’s playground at the southwest end of the park.
Others said they only go to the park when the Paso Robles City Library is open across the street, to use the restroom there.
Others complained of the stench, backed-up waste that’s often in the bowls and how they were embarrassed to bring their guests to the park because of the condition of the restrooms.
“You’ve got to wear a clothespin on your nose,” Moye said of the current facility. “It’s that bad.”
The plumbing and masonry in the restrooms are too old for renovating, according to a city staff report, and are deemed as “inadequate and obsolete.”
The facility also isn’t up to current building codes and is not wheelchair accessible.
Staff presented the council with three options: the first cost $1.5 million for 18 commodes and four urinals; a second cost $570,000 for six commodes and three urinals; and a third cost $700,000 for two buildings with six commodes and two urinals. Each would have a men’s and women’s side.
The existing restroom has five commodes, one trough urinal and four sinks.
The council chose the cheapest option.
The money will come from park development impact fees and redevelopment funds. The project won’t impact the city’s general fund, which pays for services such as police and fire.
Location was also an issue at the meeting. All the options placed the new restroom facility where the park’s horseshoe pits are now.
But the public and members of the council, including Mayor Duane Picanco, opposed that idea, saying the pits are a fun and needed attraction.
The new restrooms will be built in the location of the current facility, next to the playground.