By Karen Cornelius
The Vermilion Parks and Recreation Board met on Tuesday, April 18. During audience participation, Shore Thing spokesman Dan Pryor asked to read the group’s correspondence into the record with emphasis on providing decent restrooms for the public. Shore Thing is the successful enterprise at Main Street Beach setting up its little building every summer to provide amenities to residents and visitors enjoying Lake Erie’s sand and shores.
According to the minutes of the meeting, Pryor said the most important item the group would like to discuss is restrooms . . . emergency restrooms. “We don’t understand why the development of Main Street Beach does not have better restroom facilities by this time. I know there is a major study going on at this time for this area. But our Main Street Beachfront needs restrooms, NOW,” said Pryor.
“Let us consider what is missing at Main Street Beach: We have a beautiful, newly painted and lighted lighthouse; We have a clean beach that keeps growing and growing; We have an adventurous pier with magnificent views; We have volunteers who keep the beach clean and answer questions from visitors all over the world; We have an expanded number of visitors each year who tell us we have the prettiest town and nicest beach around Lake Erie. What is missing are clean, sanitary, restrooms with wash stations. Our visitors expect more and deserve more than a porta-potty year after year.”
Pryor asked the board what the possibilities are for temporary restrooms? He asked if there are restrooms on the upper level of the former museum, and if they could be somehow used. He also asked if there could be better portable restrooms brought to the beach, perhaps a trailer unit. Pryor said Shore Thing knew the museum architects were suggesting restrooms on the lower level with access through the north glass doors. He asked how far out these plans were because they need restrooms now. “Could we consider a temporary restroom construction using this grould-level location in the newer part of the museum?”
Lastly, Pryor personally stated, “I believe the community would like to see some productive activity being done at the present time — some physical, productive activity. I don’t believe we want to see another summer go by with the building just sitting there.”
Parks board member Terry Parker addressed some of those concerns regarding emergency temporary restrooms at the ground level location in the newer part ofthe museum. He explained there was a meeting with the architects recently which was factfinding to get input from Shore Thing, the Vermilion Chamber, and Main Street Vermilion on possible uses. The next phase would be to find money to take these ideas and turn them into a proposal. Parker said realistically before they could proceed it would be in the $2 to $5 million range to restore and use this building. All this could be years out. He said the restrooms in the upper part of the building are not accessible or up to code. The problem with the lower part of the building is that it’s not inhabitable. All of the drywall and ceilings need removed and there is no plumbing close to the front of the building.
Parks chairman Betsy Wakefield said the bottom floor is a wreck and there is no plumbing. However, Wakefield wondered if they could section off the bathrooms by using the backside of the building. She was willing to look at it with Pryor. Member Jon Logue, the chairman of the Wakefield House Development Committee, said he would take Pryor in, but there were concerns whether the lower level was safe for people to be in this building on a regular basis. Logue said they were waiting for the architects final report. H said if the area is safe and if they could do something like this then it would be great.
Pryor thought it would cost less to put in a temporary bathroom versus purchasing portable bathrooms. He said it costs around $4,000 a month to rent the portable bathrooms which are trailer units. Parks member Brad Schultz said there is a resident in the city who actually deals with these portable bathrooms so it would be worth exploring the costs. He offered to look at placement options and costs with this resident. Then Parks board can look at two scenarios to see which option is more viable.
Chairman Wakefield said they will revisit this issue at next month’s meeting which is Tuesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. at the municipal complex on Decatur Street.