Chesterton Tribune

Council expresses new qualms about proposed trailer restroom for park

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By KEVIN NEVERS

A month or two ago, the proposed purchase of a trailer-mounted restroom facility for use in Thomas Centennial Park—in lieu of a long-discussed brick-and-mortar facility—seemed like a pretty good idea to the Chesterton Town Council.

Now some members are throttling down their enthusiasm until a couple of questions get answered: namely, how expensive it is to maintain and how vulnerable it would be to vandalism.

At their meeting Monday night, members voted 5-0 to authorize Town Engineer Mark O’Dell to solicit quotes on a trailer-mounted restroom, with the understanding that O’Dell will also submit a list of sites where similar trailers are being used.

O’Dell has estimated the cost of such a trailer at around $60,000. Building Commissioner Dave Novak has said that the cost of a brick-and-mortar facility has climbed into the neighborhood of $140,000 to $150,00. The council has earmarked $175,000 in CEDIT funds to put a restroom in the park.

Member Jeff Trout, noting that “price is different from the cost of ownership,” specifically requested a list of places where such trailers are being used, to see whether they’ve been “successfully installed” and whether they’re expensive to maintain and repair if vandalized.

“I’m not necessarily comfortable with a trailer,” added Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th. “What’s their life span? What if something breaks?”

O’Dell said that he would provide the requested list.

The specs for the restroom in question: hot water service (necessitating an electrical connection); fresh-water capability; hands-free faucets; a baby-changing station; a skirt to wrap around the trailer to conceal the wheels; and fold-up steps attached to the unit.

The trailer could be connected directly to sanitary-sewer and water lines. But it would also be movable and would have an 850-gallon waste tank—which could be emptied at the wastewater treatment plant—and a 300-gallon freshwater tank to make it fully portable.

Like a camper, the trailer would in all likelihood be stored in the winter, O’Dell said.

 

Posted 5/30/2012