An effort to curb downtown Olympia’s bathroom problem will be underway Monday as construction crews begin work on a permanent toilet at the Artesian Commons Park.
The new restroom will replace an all hours porta-potty, which is on the north side of the downtown park, near Fourth Avenue. The permanent restroom will be placed in the same spot, and will be accessible from Fourth Avenue. In the meantime, the porta-potty will be placed at the south end of the park and will be open 24 hours a day.
The restroom should be open by the end of July, and also will be open 24 hours a day, the city of Olympia reports. The restroom itself will be durable and largely made of stainless steel, similar to the trendsetting Portland Loos.
The Olympia City Council gave the permanent toilet the green light in January. Project manager Jim Rioux said the total cost of the project will be $346,000. Of that cost, $120,000 will go to the prefabricated Portland Loo-style restroom, $141,000 will go to capital improvements to accommodate the restroom, and $85,000 will go to engineering, inspections and labor.
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A 24-hour count in November 2016 showed that 111 people used the Honey Bucket at the Artesian Commons in that period, said parks director Paul Simmons earlier this year. Staff had previously estimated that 80 to 90 people used the toilet daily based on the amount of waste that gets pumped out.
The sidewalk along the Fourth Avenue side of the Artesian Commons Park will be closed during construction. The park will be accessible from the Jefferson Street side.
Construction work should not affect any scheduled skateboard or concert activities at the Artesian Commons.