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Higher cost for new restrooms at Waynesville playground could nix project

Renovating the antiquated, shuttered restrooms at the Waynesville Recreation Park will cost more than town officials anticipated, leaving them to question whether to bother or just scrap the plans altogether.


The project included new toilets and bathroom fixtures, new plumbing, a pitched roof, an extended picnic shelter with grills, a concession stand, a food prep area with a microwave and possibly a popcorn machine, and a meeting room. It was estimated to cost $180,000.

But when the town put the project out to bid, none of the five proposals came in under $300,000. Trimming some of the project’s extras wasn’t enough to make the price more feasible.

“It was so way over budget even after cutting things out,” Town Manager Marcy Onieal told the town board at a recent meeting. “We simply cannot bring that proposal back to you.”

The dilapidated restrooms were once the bathhouse for an old outdoor pool. The pool was bulldozed, but the bathhouse remained as public restrooms for park goers, despite frequent vandalism and maintenance issues. 

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The restrooms were closed in 2011 following arson, however. The town got $97,000 in insurance money and planned to put it toward a major renovation. Town leaders were willing to chip in $100,000 in town funds, for a total cost of $200,000.

Now, they must figure out if they want to come up with a simpler restroom concept or simply kill the project.

“We may or may not want to plop a restroom down in that spot,” Onieal said. “We really need to take a step back and look at a master plan for that area.”

No decision was made at the board meeting. The town has two other public restrooms at its sprawling recreation complex along Richland Creek, but none are in convenient proximity to the large Waynesville Kiwanis Community Playground, which is currently served by portapotties.

In the same breath, Onieal delivered another piece of bad news. The town did not receive a $60,000 grant from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund that would have helped pay for the about $200,000 cost of reconstructing its six tennis courts. The fate of that project is up in the air as well.

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