Public restrooms needed downtown

Published 9:47 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Will we see a splash pad in Albert Lea in the next year or two at the north end of Broadway? I think this could be quite an attraction to families with young children and hopefully draw more people to the downtown area. However, when I looked further into the details, I found there were no plans for a public restroom in the North Broadway and Fountain Street area. The Albert Lea Farmers Market has been in that area since 2002, and we have felt there was a need for a permanent public restroom in that area for quite some time. I have seen numerous walkers and even people who drive into the lot use the porta-potty there during the summer season, but in this scenic and beautiful location, don’t people deserve something better than that and something available year-round?

I again brought up the public restroom issue when the streetscape project was done two years ago and was told they were over budget and could not do it. Now, it seems that after putting a lot of money into that area, encouraging people to use Fountain Lake Park more for special events and even weddings, encouraging more people to use the walking trail around the lake, and now the proposed splash pad, doesn’t common sense dictate that there really needs to be nice restroom facilities available there? If we have kids using a splash pad there, there will definitely be a need for restrooms.

The public restroom situation in downtown Albert Lea is really bad, as there is nothing in the whole downtown area. Don’t we want to encourage people to spend more time shopping, walking and enjoying our downtown area? I have been told by city officials that they cannot put restrooms in that area because they would be vandalized, as Austin had that problem. Well, with good lighting, security cameras and closer monitoring by our police department, we could minimize that possibility. There are public restrooms in some of our other city parks, and other local towns do have public restroom facilities, and don’t seems to have any serious problems.

Email newsletter signup

If the city is unwilling or unable to fully fund this restroom, I believe there is grant money that could very possibly help subsidize this, and with local donations, this could become a reality without a lot of expense on the part of the city.

I think our downtown area looks so much nicer now, and we want more people to come to our town to see all the great things we have to offer. If you think we need public restrooms in the North Broadway area, call your councilman and other city officials, as well as letting the splash pad committee members know what you think. Your opinion counts, so let it be heard!


Verlys Huntley