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Rotary Wants to Get A Head

Local organization offers to help pay for the installation of a new public bathroom downtown. Where should it go?

For several hours on Monday, hundreds of people will gather around the Depot Plaza to and check out the before heading off to the for the and the to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Kiddo.

In doing so, many of those people will need to use the restroom, and they'll have few choices beyond heading into the .

Although that bathroom is widely considered to be a public restroom and has served as such for years, the cafe’s lease with the city, last negotiated in 1997, allows Depot owner Puffin Enterprises to control the bathroom “by lock and key” to be “made available to patrons at the discretion” of its owners.

Owner Nicole Ricci has operated it as a public facility for the past several years, either as a goodwill gesture to the city or because the management of the key system was a burden on employees.

But city officials are convinced that isn't a viable long-term solution. After years of off-and-on discussions about the possibility of creating a new public bathroom, the city is taking the initial steps to doing just that. City Manager Jim McCann said the public restroom will be on a list of capital improvement projects for the City Council to consider funding when it takes up the t city's budget in June.

The city can expect some help. Mill Valley Rotary has offered to help fund the project and be involved in its execution in some way.

"We're committed to helping the city make this a reality," said , a past president of the Mill Valley Rotary.

Jessup recently uncovered a sketch (attached at right) made by her father, former Mill Valley Mayor Dick Jessup, in 1980 for putting the bathroom right behind the current Golden Gate Transit bus stop on Sunnyside Ave. at the Depot PLaza, right where a bike rack is currently located. Kim Jessup and her fellow Rotarians have suggested the city pursue that location.

"That's the same location that we've been thinking about," McCann said.

If the council agrees to fund all or part of the bathroom, the city will explore alternatives, develop cost estimates and come up with a design, McCann said.

In addition to the location by the bus stop, the city could also consider the possibility of using the small space in the city-owned Depot building currently occupied by the . The city could also alter the access to the existing bathroom so it can be used when the Depot is closed.

“We’ve got the ability to do it,” McCann said. “There’s no doubt that there would be tremendous interest in where it would go and the design of it. But there appears that there is great interest and desire for it, so we’re going to see if we can make it happen.”

Sylvia "Chipps" Newsom Barsky June 01, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Yes, there is (quite literally) a desperate need for public restrooms in the down town area. I like Dick and Kim Jessup's plans and hope that they can be implemented soon. Another idea would be to expand the restrooms between Sunnyside and East Blithedale that are used by Toast Restaurant customers. The more public restrooms, the better!

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