Park restrooms elicit different opinions

News editor

The question of where to put new restrooms in Central Park is splitting the people who care into two camps, and the dividing line is clear: cost vs. beauty.

After Gene Winkler told Kiwanis Club members that putting the restrooms in the northwest corner of the park, west of the memorial fountain, could save $12,000 or more, the club voted to send a letter to city council endorsing that location as long as it doesn’t interfere with the park’s beauty.

Al Ash said the extra $12,000 price tag was more than enough to sway his opinion.

However, Planning Commission member Ruth Herbel said she has received more than 25 calls from people about the project, and none of them want the restrooms in the front of the park.

“What they are telling me is they don’t want the front of the park overcrowded,” Herbel said. “There’s too much in the front already.

“It’s just, ‘cram in everything like sardines,’” she said.

They think that another proposed location on the east side of the park is too close to the picnic shelter. They would rather see them on the west side of the park, partway back near the storage shed, or in the far back of the park.

Herbel said the people who have been calling her about the project are primarily people who have lived most or all of their lives in Marion. Some of them are retired business owners. One is a woman nearing 90 years old who doesn’t want restrooms to block her view of the park when she goes by, because mobility issues prevent her from going into the park now.

Herbel said she thinks the project is worthwhile and needed because of the size and condition of the current restrooms in the gazebo, but she agrees with those who want to prevent overcrowding.

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