Saluda considers building public restrooms

Published 5:37 pm Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The City of Saluda is considering using a city lot thought by many to be an alley to construct public restrooms downtown.
Saluda recently surveyed the lot between M.A. Pace’s Store and the building known as the old Princess Theatre building, which is currently occupied by Sterling & Stone and apartments.
Saluda commissioners met Monday, March 12 and heard a report from Steven Waggoner, who surveyed the lot, and Brad Schwartz, a local architect who is consulting with the city on the design of potential restrooms. Commissioners also discussed the possibility of public restrooms during a retreat held earlier this year.
Commissioner Leon Morgan said adequate restrooms are needed in Saluda as people come in his store every day to use the restroom. The city has restrooms at McCreery Park, but city officials said they are not adequate and it is too difficult for elderly people to walk up the hill to use them.
“A little old woman with a cane cannot walk up the hill to the park to go to the bathroom,” said Morgan. “There is a major need for bathrooms in Saluda.”
Waggoner gave some history of the lot and the party (shared) wall there.
Schwartz gave his thoughts on how the public restroom building should be situated on the lot as well as having a seating area for people to wait.
Questions from the audience included how the city plans to pay for a building and the feasibility of a small town having public restrooms.
Commissioners said the city does have some money, but suggestions from Schwartz included selling bricks to honor individuals to go toward the costs.
Schwartz said assuming a basic building and three rooms – one male, one female and one unisex – the costs could be around $18,000 at $90 per square foot at a total of 200 square feet.
“The point is we have a lot in the middle of town that belongs to the city,” said Saluda Mayor Fred Baisden. “We could sell it, but what do you gain?”
Baisden said the lot is not worth a lot of money and it’s not very attractive. The city could put in gardens to make it attractive, he said, plus it would give people who come to Saluda to shop a place to go to the bathroom during their shopping trip.
Commissioners plan to continue to discuss the town’s options.