Bathrooms once again were a big topic at the work session before the regular meeting of the Blue Earth City Council last Tuesday night.
While at their last meeting the council discussed the need for restrooms at the 14th Street ballfields, the Senior Citizen Center and the county fairgrounds park, on Monday the council concentrated on just one location.
The baseball field at the fairgrounds.
These bleachers behind home plate at the east ballfield at the fairgrounds are scheduled to be replaced with a grandstand style seating structure, with the possibility of restrooms underneath it.
Brent Legred and Dan Brod of the Blue Earth Baseball Association addressed the council about both the need for restrooms by the ball diamond, and some proposals to accomplish the construction.
Legred explained that while there are restrooms at the fairgrounds, none are nearby the ballfields and some are located in locked buildings.
Legred pointed out that a conservative estimate of the number of people who will be attending baseball games in Blue Earth this summer is 6,668. And, that does not include any games connected with the school, he added. "We will be hosting a big tournament this summer in July, covering two weekends," Legred said. "And, if that goes well, we could get more of them."
Having to use porta potties does not project a very good image for the town, Legred said.
"They are what they are," Legred said. "But we would rather have some decent restrooms available close by the field."
He pointed out last year the baseball organization, with help from the city, rebuilt the actual field. This year they plan on building a new grandstand seating area.
"It will be a 30 foot by 13 foot structure," Legred said. "And it would have room for a bathroom building under it."
The baseball organization would rough out the exterior of the structure, Legred explained, but they were asking for the city's help with the rest.
"We have estimates that it will cost $10,000 to finish off the inside of the building as a restroom, plus $6,900 for the fixtures and plumbing inside," Legred told the council. "Plus $7,600 to run the sewer line either to the east or west side of the (fairgrounds) grandstand."
That totals $24,500.
"After fixing the field last year and building the new bleacher seating this year, the bottom line is we don't have the cash for the restroom," Legred explained. "And we are asking for the city's help."
Councilman John Huisman said he felt the city should be helping with the restrooms, and suggested the funds could come from the liquor store profits.
Councilman Glenn Gaylord agreed, saying those profits were always intended for projects just like this one.
Some councilmembers, however, questioned whether other restrooms nearby could not be used.
"We did talk to the fair board about using the ones in the Veterans Memorial Building," Legred said. "We would even be willing to pay for another door (on the north side of the building) and a sidewalk to that door. But we have not gotten any answer from the fair board."
Mayor Rick Scholtes thought the city should build its own restrooms and not rely on the ones of the fair board.
"But, I feel we should not run the sewer line across in front of the grandstand," Scholtes said. "We need to go to the west, and perhaps even build a separate building."
Scholtes asked when the baseball organization needed an answer, saying the council would get back to them in March after either their first or second meeting of the month.
"We plan on construction this spring just as soon as the weather allows," Legred said. "We want to be ready for all the games that will be here this summer."
He had one more comment for the council.
"Nice ball diamonds are a nice reflection on the community they are in," he said. "And we want to make a good impression with all the visitors we will be hosting here in Blue Earth."