POULSBO — New restrooms in Muriel Iverson Waterfront Park are scheduled to be completed in time for Halloween and Julefest. The Poulsbo City Council approved the $253,000 contract with the Public Restroom Company at its July 12 meeting.
The new pre-fabricated restrooms in the park have been on the city’s to-do list since at least July 2016 (www.kitsapdailynews.com/news/city-port-try-to-find-middle-ground-on-joint-restroomlaundryshowers). A year later, it is about to become a reality.
Plans call for the Poulsbo Public Works Department or a subcontractor to begin demolition of the old building in mid-September. The timing is designed to minimize the impact of the demolition and construction on the busy summer tourist season and Julefest in December, according to officials.
Once the old building is gone, workers will pour the foundation pad and bring utilities to within six feet of the new site. The new restrooms will open sometime in mid- to late-October.
Besides having a new, modern restroom, visitors in the park will have more room to enjoy the view of the marina and Liberty Bay; the new building will be moved back toward the parking lot about 14 feet, opening up the waterfront view, according to Mary McCluskey, director of Poulsbo Parks and Recreation.
What’s most remarkable about the new concrete restrooms is that they are being pre-fabricated in the Oregon factory of the Public Restrooms Company. Sometime after the middle of October, the completed modular units will be loaded on special “low boy” tractor-trailers and brought to the site, where a crane will lift the building onto the prepared foundation, according to the company’s website. The company says this guarantees minimal site disruption, on-time construction, less on-site nuisances and predictable costs.
Port restroom still a problem
What the new restrooms won’t do is solve the problem of replacing the nearby restrooms/shower/laundry at the Port of Poulsbo.
A year ago, city and port representatives met at City Hall to search for common ground with regard to replacing the restroom at the marina and in Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park.
At that meeting, they agreed on five items.
First, the park and marina restrooms are obsolete and need replacement. “Statistics show one of the primary return draws for a tourist destination is the restrooms,” Council member David Musgrove said.
Second, any new restrooms should offer the same number of stalls (and in the case of the marina, showers) as the current facilities.
Third, options for cooperation were constrained by city zoning codes and restrictions imposed by the government grants that were used to fund the park and the port’s restrooms. For example, the grant for waterfront park “almost certainly” wouldn’t permit a laundry on the grounds, an essential need for boaters visiting the port, according to the city’s then-planning director Barry Berezowsky.
Fourth, property issues would have had to be resolved because the Port of Poulsbo and the City of Poulsbo are separate government entities. The only shoreline property the port actually owns is the ground under the current restroom at the entrance to the marina. Any expansion of new facilities would be “asking for square footage from Poulsbo for the port’s exclusive use, at the taxpayers’ expense,” Berezowsky said at the time.
At that July 2016 meeting, the two agencies agreed to spend 30 days attempting to resolve the issue of combined or separate projects. When no satisfactory combined solution could be found, the city moved ahead with its plans to replace the old park restrooms with a pre-fabricated unit.
— Terryl Asla is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com