Downtown public restrooms re-open

Published 1:10 pm Saturday, August 16, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- If you've had to use a public restroom, but didn't know where to find one in downtown Niles before, there's no need to worry anymore.
Two restrooms, located in the Second and Sycamore street parking lot have been re-opened after having been closed for more than 20 years.
The restrooms were closed because they were frequented by those who vandalized them or used them improperly.
Michele Boyd, Downtown Development Authority chair, said the restrooms, which have been brought up to code, are open Monday through Saturday.
During mild winter weathers the doors will remain open.
Boyd said the DDA invested roughly $12,000 to re-open the restrooms.
She said people should feel secure using them because there are security measures in place and people are keeping and eye on the restrooms.
Neil Coulston, the city's public works director, was also involved in opening up the bathrooms.
She said the bathrooms have been made handicap accessible and they are cleaned daily by Michiana Cleaning Services.
In the winter, the bathrooms will be heated.
Among those who have worked hard to re-open the restrooms, Boyd is glad to see them open and available to the public again.
The money spent to renovate and bring the restrooms up to date comes from the tax revenue the DDA creates within the DDA district.
Boyd, however, said the restrooms were in pretty good condition even before anything was done to them.
But the bathrooms, which have nice, bright floors and tiled walls, needed new entrance doors because the old ones were rusty at the bottom, she said.
But she does see people making use of them during the day since they were opened.
She thinks it is important that Niles has public restrooms.
She also said the restrooms will be convenient for people during festivals.
The DDA, in addition to re-opening the restrooms, have also decided to spend $20,000 on replacing and repairing the fencing in the downtown area.
Boyd said when that project is completed, all the downtown parking lots will have identical fencing.
Boyd said the DDA is also looking at ways to do something with a retaining wall located in the Second and Sycamore streets parking lot.