Plaza Potty Update – Council Considers Spending Another $180,000 for Public ‘Loos’
Back in December of 2014, El Paso City Council voted against spending an additional $400,000 for the installation of self-cleaning restrooms in San Jacinto Plaza. So unless council approves another change order to make it so, when the plaza renovation is complete and the park finally reopens -- whenever that may be -- it will not have public bathrooms.
Lower Valley Rep. Lily Limón would like to see that change and has been advocating for a plaza potty, but City Manager Tommy González believes the park already has too many features and doesn't feel like there's enough room for one more. So at Tuesday's city council meeting, a plan to add "public 'loos'" on two different city owned properties near San Jacinto was discussed as a compromise.
The restrooms would be installed near the County courthouse at Aztec Calendar Park, and at Cleveland Square by the El Paso Museum of History and the Main Public Library. Locating them on the alternate sites wouldn't exactly be very convenient if you were at San Jacinto and you really had to go, but would supposedly save taxpayer money since the city already owns the land, and the spots are already within reach of sewer and water lines. According to González, each loo would cost about $90,000.
A specific portable potty wasn't mentioned, but The Portland Loo -- named after the city which popularized them -- is the most likely. Per the company website, they cost $90,000 to $100,000 each, plus shipping, site preparation with sewer and water, installation and maintenance.
They’re touted as less vulnerable to crime and drug use than other public restrooms because of the open slats at the top and near the ground, which allow passersby and law enforcement to quickly tell whether there’s illegal activity going on inside without compromising the privacy of users. In addition, the metal design is protected with an anti-graffiti clear coat, is easy to clean and can take a lot of abuse.
The potty compromise would require council approval and would be paid for with Quality of Life bond funds.