Residents Want To Flush Public Bathroom Plan - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/08/03

Residents Want To Flush Public Bathroom Plan

The Little Children's Park on the corner of Calhoun and Washington Avenue is surrounded by homes. The homeowners say they've seen people go to the bathroom in the park, and they've seen some other things too. The park is a popular day-time playground and that's why some people wonder about the bathroom.

Nikki Cochran says she and her daughter Taylor always have a swinging good time in the Little Children's park. Cochran says she's never seen any trouble and isn't too worried about a bathroom going in the park.

"Sometimes it would be convenient but the times we're here it wouldn't be a problem but I could see after dark it might be," Cochran says.

One resident says there are problems in the park after dark.

"We've had sexual activity in the park there's no doubt about that. We don't need children walkin' around in this children's park picking up condoms for lack of a better way to say it," Guy Young says.

Young is afraid that kind of activity, and the drug use he says he sees in the park will get worse, and he thinks a restroom could create a danger.

"We might have a problem with sexual assault of children here. I think that really sets that up. The city's really laying the foundation for that. Might not happen today or tomorrow after it's built but eventually a child could be assaulted in this park."

Glenn Miller is more bothered by the bathroom's proposed location. It could sit across a small canal just about 50 feet from his house.

"The inconvenience or actual threat to the property value being built next to my home. I don't think anybody in their right mind who owns a home would want a public restroom built next to it," Miller says.

Miller and Young also wonder how the bathroom will be maintained and who may use it.

"Along with a public toilet come toilet problems and I don't have a lot of confidence in the city's ability to keep it maintained, keep it cleaned on a daily basis or maybe twice daily like it would need to be and patrolled," Miller says.

"We have some homeless folks running around town. This is gonna give them an opportune place to hang out and go to the restroom and clean themselves up, starts with two and it will grow from there. I just don't think we need that," Young says.

The proposed bathroom will be discussed Thursday night at the monthly business meeting of the Ocean Springs Park Commission.

Commission Director Damian McKay told WLOX News "Bathrooms are needed in the park. We want to put a nice bathroom in, but we're still open for suggestions and that's why we're inviting people to attend the business meeting Thursday night."

Alderman Matt McDonnell says there's been a constant complaint that there is no public bathroom in the park. He says concerns like maintenance, the hours of operation, design and location of the bathroom will all be addressed. McDonnell says there are public restrooms in the other city parks.

Ocean Springs police say they've received no reports of sexual activity or drug use in Little Children's Park.

By:Marcia Hill

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