Some council members concerned for visitors' lacking public facilities
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/18/2012 -- The downtown bathrooms in Austin have finally been removed, as workers tore down the facilities that had stood, out of service, since 2009.
The tear-downs had been scheduled for fall, but the work was delayed after the city council took the time to reevaluate the decision. There had been a movement to have the bathrooms revamped and reopened, rather than shutting them down completely.
City Engineer Jon Erichson stated that performing the repairs that would keep the bathrooms functional would cost more money that it was worth. The council voted to not include it and leave the demolition plans in place.
A $20,000 budget was set in the Capital Improvement Plan for asbestos abatement, demolition, and restoration on the site. Due to the year being nearing a close, the cost was likely to carry over into the new new year, according to Assistant Engineer to the mayor, Steven Lang.
In October, the council of Austin voted 6-1, Marian Clennon was the lone dissenting voice, for awarding the $1,990 bid to H&L Brothers Inc.
Council Member Brian McAlister stated that an August meeting concluded the bathrooms had more than enough issues accumulated over their 40 years in service.
“It’s never been a draw for the downtown area,” McAlister said. “They’ve been a problem all that time.”
The bathrooms were victims of vandalism, as well as having a history of maintenance issues, according to McAlister.
The facilities were originally implemented as part of a mall center project for the downtown area in the 1970s.
“It was kind of a spruce-up downtown thing,” McAlister said.
Judy Enright, fellow Council Member, noted that she pushed to save the restrooms. According to Enright, too many businesses close early in the evening, leaving many without a public bathroom to use in the evening.
Clennon agreed, stating public restrooms are useful for those visitors exploring the downtown area.
“Something as small as having public bathrooms is a big deal,” she said.
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