Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Ketchum approves public restrooms plan

Lavatories near Giacobbi Square and Atkinson Park should be done by July 15

Express Staff Writer

By mid-summer, Ketchum residents and visitors could have a place to answer to Mother Nature's call.

Steven Yearsley, in his capacity as Ketchum city engineer, and architect Jolyon Sawrey, also under contract with the city, presented revised ideas to the Ketchum City Council Monday, April 3, for public restrooms.

The council approved sending out to bid two facilities, one for Atkinson Park, the other for the town center near Giacobbi Square.

Downtown merchants have been calling on the city to provide people with public restrooms, especially after the Ketchum-Sun Valley Visitors' Center, which has bathrooms, was forced to move out of the core.

The city's capital improvement plan calls for restrooms at Atkinson Park and Guy Coles Skate Park.

"I feel (one at) Atkinson Park is very crucial," said Kirk Mason, Ketchum Parks & Recreation director. "To have people come use port-a-potties kind of degrades what we're trying to promote at the park."

The approximate cost for both facilities will be $173,000.

City Administrator Ron LeBlanc told the council there is enough money from development impact fees in the capital improvement fund to cover the cost of both restrooms.

"We're an international resort and we should have facilities that accommodate people that come here," he said.

The models are less expensive than ones initially presented to the city, but the designs are an upgrade from so-called "blue rooms." They have separate male/female facilities and a rock-texture exterior.

The facility in the core is considered temporary, pending a more comprehensive plan for the city's "town square" property at the corner of Fourth Street and East Avenue. The restroom can later be moved to another public spot such as the bike path or skate park if necessary, LeBlanc said.

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