BROOKINGS – The restrooms at Sexauer Park will get an upgrade, but the Brookings City Council cut down the proposed project Tuesday night.
Dan Brettschneider, director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, explained the proposed project, which would have four family restrooms with toilets, sinks and showers in each one.
Originally, the Sexauer Park restrooms and the new Pioneer Park facilities were budgeted $280,000, with $140,000 going to each project. Pioneer Park’s construction was completed in 2016 for $197,246, leaving $83,753. But the cost to upgrade the Sexauer facility is projected to run $283,820.
In the 2017 Capital Improvement Plan, $200,000 was allocated for resurfacing/resealing the parking lot at Dwiggins/Medary Park. That project is on hold, and city staff recommended using that money for the Sexauer Park restrooms.
The current facility includes women’s and men’s restrooms and a utility room. The women’s room has three toilet stalls, a sink and one shower. The men’s restroom has one urinal, two toilet stalls, a sink and one shower.
Brettschneider said there are several issues with the facility at Sexauer, including the running water not stopping. The venting is open, allowing bugs in. Privacy is another complaint because the showers are open to those entering. The facility is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The facility is well-used, especially during Hobo Days, the Brookings Summer Arts Festival and family reunions, Brettschneider said. It’s not just a campground, but it’s also a park and gets a lot of use.
Councilor Dan Hansen asked what the cost would be if the city did not put in showers. Many people who camp have vehicles that have showers.
Brettschneider did not have the numbers if there were no showers, but he said that putting in only two showers would save $30,000 to $35,000.
Hansen asked how long the average stay was.
Brettschneider said many come on Friday and leave on Sunday, but some stay a week or more. He said there was a benefit to having four showers. The facility has two now, but there are complaints.
“I’m all for keeping the showers there because that’s part of camping,” Councilor Mary Kidwiler said. She asked if the city could cut the plan down to two unisex bathrooms and be compliant with the ADA and serve the traffic Sexauer gets.
The plan for four is based on the use of the park, Brettschneider said. During events like volleyball tournaments, where a lot of people participate, “two toilet stalls would not be adequate.”
Kidwiler asked why Sexauer’s upgrade was costing more than Pioneer Park’s.
Pioneer Park does not have showers and there will be a cost to demolish the existing structure at Sexauer, which Pioneer Park didn’t have, Brettschneider said.
Councilor Ope Niemeyer asked if they could expand beyond 18 RV pads, but state law prohibits it, City Manager Jeff Weldon said.
Niemeyer suggested building two bathrooms and two more bathrooms with shower stalls, adding it works in other places.
Brettschneider said there was privacy and safety with the unisex restrooms, and City Manager Jeff Weldon added that it leads to the city’s policy to have family restrooms.
Hansen moved an amendment to change the plan to have four unisex restrooms and have two with showers.
The amendment was approved, and with that change to the plan, the construction on new facilities at Sexauer Park was approved.
Brettschneider said they would start the project “as quick as possible” so it would be done by June, before the next arts festival.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]