Village restrooms to be discussed

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By John Morton

Mark Smith, the Sarasota County District 2 commissioner who represents the northern half of Siesta Key and resides on the island, has asked that the topic of constructing a public bathroom in Siesta Key’s Village be included as a capital improvement item during a May budget hearing.

He requested in March that county staff provide the Sarasota County Board of Commissioners with examples of small public bathrooms, and public works director Spencer Anderson did so by submitting samples of the stucco concrete block structures recently built along the Legacy Trail.
Smith said he would be aiming at something a bit “simpler” by suggesting a structure with 5-inch by 5-inch galvanized steel posts that are similar of the look of the Village’s gazebo, with metal panel walls and a metal roof that would also match the gazebo.
Smith said Anderson had estimated a base cost of around $15,000, depending upon the potential need for site improvements.
Last summer, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to the county that requested funding for a public bathroom in the Village, noting that 40% of its walk-ins inquired about the location of one. The chamber also conducted a survey that asked if the Village needed a public restroom, with 87% of respondents saying yes.
In August, representatives of three Village businesses near the final trolley stop on Canal Road addressed the commissioners, describing how they are bombarded with bathroom requests by the public. It was then that Wendal Jacobsen, manager of Beach Bazaar, pledged that some of the business’ property adjacent to where the gazebo sits could be donated for the creation of a public restroom.
Currently, the public bathroom closest to the Village can be found at Siesta Beach, about 1 mile away.

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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