City looking to build new park bathrooms

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

No. 1 project at City Park; No. 2 project at South Park

The city of Cassville has heard the complaints about the City Park restrooms, and with other projects for 2019 coming in under budget, officials are looking into doing something about them.

David Brock, Cassville public works director, said the Cassville City Council authorized a contract with an architectural firm out of Joplin, PLJBD Architects Inc.

“The plan of action has two parts,” he said. “One part focuses on the City Park, and they will look at constructing new restrooms there.

“They will look at demolishing the old building there or build the new one nearby.”

Brock said the architectural firm would size the restroom based on the number of people that visit the park during the busy times.

“Then, they will look at whether it will be cheaper to do a traditional built structure on site or to go through a company that pre-manufactures,” he said. “Then, we will look at the South Park.”

Brock said the restrooms there are open year-round, but they are at the Aquatic Center and that is a pretty long distance for trail users to walk.

“We are wanting to add a small restroom there along the trail,” he said. “The area we are looking at is where the Greenway trail splits off and you can go either left toward the City Park or right.”

Brock said a restroom there would serve anyone going on either one of those trails.

“They aren’t really going to do a community survey,” he said. “They will really just come down and look at the number of ball fields and tennis courts.

“We aren’t going to build for the biggest crowds we have there, but we don’t want to undersize it either.”

Brock said the funds will come out of the parks and stormwater budget.

“We had a capital improvement budget this year, and most of it was for stuff over at the Aquatic Center,” he said. “A lot of that came in under budget, so we had some money left over, and we are essentially redirecting those funds to use for this purpose.”

Brock said this new project wasn’t budgeted originally, but it is now.

“This is a planning study, and we want the results back when we are doing our budgeting process for 2020,” he said. “We want to start construction in 2020, and that is not to say that we may not have to span that out over two years.”

Brock said it all depends on the cost, and the type of restroom the city is looking for is one that is durable.

“We want something that is open year-round so it is heated and one that is not easily vandalized,” he said. “I would expect that we are looking at a cost of over $100,000 for the City Park restroom.”

Brock said with that in mind, it is very possible that the project will be stretched out over a couple of budget years.

“We will see what the results for the study say, and we will go from there,” he said. “I was involved in the construction project like this in another community and it was probably about the size we are looking for, and that one bid at $130,000.”

Brock said some of that also depends on the design.

“We don’t want something super plain-Jane, but we don’t need the Taj Mahal either,” he said. “The main focus is durability, the City Park does at times attract some vandalism.”

Brock said getting both restrooms at the same time really depends on funding.

“These projects will have to compete with stormwater improvement projects,” he said. “Both are funded by the city’s parks and stormwater sales tax.”

Brock said in January 2018, he did an online survey about the parks systems in Cassville.

“One of the easiest things to see out of that survey was that people were dissatisfied with the restrooms at the city park,” he said. “Some comments were that they were dark, dirty and not open all year-round.”

Brock said it is a priority for the city, and there will be a focus on that.

“We want to get started,” he sad. “That is why when our other projects came in under budget, we didn’t want to wait until 2020 to start the planning. We wanted to get this done so that we can set a goal of starting construction in 2020.”

According to the request for qualification for architectural services for recreational bathrooms, the architectural services are to be completed no later than Sept. 30, 2019. It is anticipated that after successfully delivering the preliminary planning study, the architect will be invited to negotiate a contract for full architectural services related to construction of these facilities.

The city of Cassville maintains over 57 acres of public access park land to include over two miles of greenway trails. The Downtown City Park is Cassville’s oldest recreational facility and includes concrete block bathrooms built in the late 1980s. In a 2018 Park Facility Survey, the community’s highest ranked unsatisfactory feature in the Cassville park system was the condition or lack of restrooms.

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