Congress Park could have permanent public restrooms by next summer, Commissioner of Public Works Thomas McTygue said at the Tuesday, Aug. 7, meeting of the Saratoga Springs City Council.
McTygue was responding to criticism of the portable toilets that are currently being used in the park.
Resident and longtime McTygue critic David Bronner cited the complaints of a woman who was visiting the area from Florida, saying she was alarmed that a resort and destination community like Saratoga Springs wouldn't have better facilities in the park. Bronner himself has decried the portable toilets, saying those and the 55 gallon drums that are used for trash cans in the park are just plain tacky.
McTygue said the bathroom issue is a problem his department has been dealing with for some time now.
"We are frustrated about the lack of bathrooms," he said. "If we had our way with design review two years ago, we would have had bathrooms by now."
McTygue said the design review commission made alterations to Department of Public Work's plans for permanent bathrooms that made them cost-prohibitive for the city.
"We had plans that were acceptable to our department, but weren't acceptable to design review," he said, adding their modifications added $100,000 to the cost of the facilities.
McTygue said the city has $240,000 set aside in its budget for the restrooms in Congress Park, and that requests for proposals would go out in the near future. "Hopefully, we will have something up and running by next summer," he said.
"Now is the time to do it," said Mayor Valerie Keehn. "This would be a wonderful thing for our visitors and our citizens as well."
In other actions, the city council:
Referred the Boyea zoning amendment to the planning board. Resident Chris Boyea and neighboring landowners on Southern Route 50 are requesting a zoning change from Rural-Residential-1 to Highway General Business because they feel the narrow lots along busy Route 50 aren't conducive to residential use.
Voted to expand the city's historic district to include all 127 acres of Saratoga Race Course.
Heard city resident and Vietnam War veteran James Coyne report that he was selling pins of the War Memorial in Congress Park for $3 each to raise money for six flag poles that would contain markers and honor all the branches of the military, including the Merchant Marines.
Heard a presentation by the Latino Community Advocacy Program. The program focuses on education and advocacy for the Latino population of the community.