Skip to Content

Council pursuing options to add bathrooms to downtown parks

Parks were filled Memorial Day with families enjoying the sunshine while spending quality time with friends and relatives.

Kathryn Keen enjoyed the holiday with her family at a West El Paso park, but found it missing an important element: a restroom.

“If it were time for the potty, we would be looking for one and there are none here,” Keen said.

The lack of restrooms has also been an issue with the newly-renovated San Jacinto Plaza downtown.

According to a 2014 Parks and Recreation Master Plan Survey, 97% of those who took the survey said restrooms are the first amenity they would like to see more support for. That topped shaded areas and playgrounds.

Right now, out of the 258 city parks, only 14 parks have permanent restrooms.

But that could soon change.

Tuesday, city council members approved two ordinances that would allow the city to pursue permanent restroom options for downtown parks and amending the current park restroom policy.

Currently, the city’s park restroom policy limits permanent restroom service to parks with 12 or more acres. The goal is to adopt an ordinance what would allow city officials to consider restrooms on a case-by-case basis as opposed to basing it on park size. Parks and Recreation officials will begin interviewing each city representative to determine which parks in their districts have most need for restrooms. Officials will also look at the distance from other public restrooms.

The other proposed ordinance would allow council to move forward with pursuing options for a permanent downtown public restroom to benefit downtown city parks.

“There are also other downtown parks other than San Jacinto Plaza, including Cleveland Square and Pioneer Plaza, that could benefit from having some kind of restroom closer to the public than what we have currently,” Tracy Novak, the executive director of the city’s Parks and Recreations Department said.

Council said more research needs to be done before they can commit to anything. The city is looking at three options for renting a space to put a permanent restroom downtown. All options are located at the Banner Building off Mills and Mesa. The restroom would be close to San Jacinto Plaza.

Council directed Parks and Recreation officials to find out how much it would cost to maintain the restrooms. It also directed staff to negotiate with the owner of the Banner Building and see if they could negotiate a cost.

The first option would be in the Banner Building facing Mesa street. It would cost approximately $15,200 a year to rent with a 20-year lease.

The second would be facing Mills street. It would cost $16,000 a year to rent with a 20-year lease.

The third option is also in the Banner Building, but would consist of a space that used to be a McDonald’s restaurant location. That would cost $54,540 a year to rent with a 20-year lease.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content