04/10/13 — Complaint will stall restrooms at park

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Complaint will stall restrooms at park

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on April 10, 2013 1:46 PM

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The site for the planned restrooms at Stoney Creek Park sits laid out, but vacant, after work was halted Monday.

Construction of the public restroom at Stoney Creek Park was halted Monday after former city councilman Bob Waller and other Randolph Street residents raised concerns about its location after work began Friday.

City Manager Scott Stevens gave the order to stop construction Monday after Councilman Bill Broadaway brought the concerns of Waller and others to him.

"It was talked about and publicly voted on by the city council," said Scott Barnard, Parks and Recreation director. "It stopping was a surprise to us all."

Construction for the project was approved at the March 18 City Council meeting after nearly two years of planning.

Construction crews broke ground on the right side of Mulberry Street on Friday, framing the site and preparing the area to set the support posts before the unexpected shut-down Monday.

To move the restroom at this stage in the process would require backtracking to return the current site to the condition it was in before work began, in addition to getting approval to build on the site approximately 35 yards to the north across Mulberry Street.

The expected cost of building the restrooms and picnic shelter, also approved on March 18 to be built near the Ash Street parking lot, was expected to be $78,000, but if the site is moved it will drive the cost up.

Optimistically, Barnard said, the change will cost the city about $3,000, but that number could be higher.

The project is partially funded by a grant, meaning the project was only to cost the city 50 cents of every dollar spent, but if the project is moved, that entire cost will be shouldered solely by the city.

And, Barnard said, because the money to redo the project has not been budgeted, it will have to again be taken before the City Council for approval and the contractor rescheduled.

After construction began on the restrooms Friday, Waller contacted Broadaway, who lives four houses down on Walnut Street, to raise his concerns with the location of the structure.

Waller, who was involved with the planned improvements on the park while he was on the City Council and as part of the Stoney Creek Park Alliance, a group formed to deliver opinions about the direction of park developments, believes the area should be an open, passive space with only a few amenities such as the children's play area.

"It was decided a long time ago nothing would go there because it would detract from the scenery of the park," he said, adding that he was probably the one who initially made contact with Broadaway about the location of the restroom.

He is confident the structure will be moved but says if not, he will have some more conversations with the Council on the issue.

The public restroom has to be on the west side of the park to keep it away from the flood plain that covers the park, but Broadaway agreed the current placement, out in the open by the children's play area, would be unsightly to the residents on Randolph Street.

He said that he, too, is confident the structure will be moved across Mulberry Street behind a stand of Leyland cypress trees where an area has been staked out to decide if it would be suitable.

Placing the structure behind the trees would obscure it from view of Randolph Street residents.

Barnard said there is a 75 percent chance the structure would move across the street, but that he won't know until he brings the expected cost analysis to the City Council for discussion Monday.

Goldsboro Parks and Recreation received notice May 5, 2011, that it had been awarded a $132,750 grant for the installation of picnic shelters, an amphitheater, a beach volleyball area and the restroom facilities.

The project proposal approved in March did not include an amphitheater.

The location approved in the grant for the bathroom structure planned for the building to be built north of Walnut Street near the Randolph Street intersection, but that original location came under fire from Stoney Creek Park Alliance member John Casey, who lives on Randolph Street.

Casey was concerned that placing public bathrooms on the other side of hedges behind his house would lead to thefts from his property.

The decision was made to build the structure on the west side of the park on the right side of the Mulberry Street cul-de-sac.

That location was unanimously agreed upon by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission and sent to the city council who passed the plan as well.