A good idea

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cherokee County Supervisor Bud Clow invited Cherokee Mayor Dennis Henrich to the supervisor meeting on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of having a public restroom for downtown shoppers in Cherokee.

The thinking is that a public restroom could be part of construction of a new addition to the Cherokee County Law Enforcement Center, most likely two restrooms, male and female, rather than a unisex restroom, because of the high anticipated use during peak shopping times.

It has been quite a number of years since downtown had restrooms for the public. The absence represents an inconvenience for shoppers, especially those with young children. Retail establishments downtown do not generally have conveniently accessible restrooms.

Cherokee City Hall has restrooms available to the public but the city hall is not open during some times when stores are open.

There are details to work out and a few obstacles to overcome regarding providing restrooms at the LEC. It was indicated during discussion that the restrooms would be a city responsibility for cleaning and maintenance. Such an arrangement would need to be formalized and budgeted, as well as the initial cost being budgeted.

A concern is that the LEC is off center from the downtown business district, but not that much. There isn't any more central location under consideration at this time.

The city keeps the restroom open continually at Spring Lake Park. There are periodic problems with vandalism or excessive messes there, but the parks and rec department deals with it. Vandalism would likely be less of a problem at the LEC, especially if the design placed the restroom entrance in an area under constant surveillance. This would reduce not only the possibility of vandalism but also other illicit activities.

It is, of course, too late to do anything about the absence of downtown public restrooms for this year's Christmas shopping season. There has yet to be any plan approved for construction of an addition to the LEC, so there is no guarantee that a project would be completed in time for next year's Christmas shopping season.

But at least discussion is taking place on the topic, which is a positive step.