Flushed with excitement, town officials open new restrooms

Worries had swirled about the new downtown restrooms not being done in time for the Spring Blossom Parade, but everything came out all right.

The women’s room, men’s room, two family restrooms and lobby will all be open Saturday morning before the 11 a.m. parade passes the building at West Main and Jefferson.

Town officials celebrated with a “first flush” ceremony at noon Friday and joked about what the building would be named. The Porcelain Palace? The Royal Flush? They settled on the Village Green Restrooms.

Though some finish work still needs to be done — there’s no art on the walls or furniture in the lobby or nursing lounge, and the floors still need to be sealed and front-porch concrete fixed — the restrooms will be open and usable from this point forward, town council President Charles “Buzz” King said.

They will be locked at night, as all other town-owned restrooms are.

King said town leaders had looked for years for suitable property on which to put restrooms that are centrally located downtown. The town had operated the Antique Alley restrooms a half-block to the west, but they were built on private property, which cost an annual lease payment.

That restroom building has been ceded to the property owner.

The town bought the new restroom building — which was the county library until the mid- to late-’80s — in March 2015 for $260,000.

Town Utilities Coordinator Sean Cassiday said construction costs are looking like they’ll come in under budget, which was $118,000. The work is being paid for by food and beverage taxes.

More work will be coming to that corner of the Village Green in the coming months. On May 5, the town learned it had been awarded a $50,000 grant for an all-ages play space, to take up the lawn and porch of the new restroom area.

Town Manager/Economic Director Scott Rudd said construction can start as soon as designs are finalized.

The current vision is to have animal-themed art elements surrounded by natural-looking, molded play pieces, such as logs and rocks.

The area will also contain tables on which games could be played, and possibly swings on the long, cool, covered porch of the Village Green Restrooms.

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Sara Clifford has been raising a family in Brown County since 2005 and leading the Brown County Democrat since late 2009. In addition to editor, she is the beat reporter for town government and writes columns, features and general news stories.