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Waterford Residents Call for New Bathrooms at Waterford Beach

Despite a push by Waterford Patch users for new bathrooms, First Selectman Dan Steward said the two bathrooms at the town-owned park will not be upgraded for at least two years.

In December, Waterford Patch wrote an article about how the Recreation and Parks Commission recommended higher entrance fees for Waterford Beach. And yet the reaction on this website and particularly on Waterford Patch's Facebook page was not about the higher fees, but instead about the bathrooms at Waterford Beach Park.

Waterford Patch users called the bathrooms “nasty” and outdated. Anthony Jesscuk, a member of the Board of Finance, has also brought up the issue before in budget hearings, saying the bathrooms need to be updated.

Recreation and Parks Director Brian Flaherty agreed, and said there is a plan to replace the bathrooms. However, First Selectman Dan Steward said the bathrooms will probably not be fixed until at least 2015-16, when the bonding level for building five new schools evens out.

“We’ll do it as soon as we can, although we have other more pressing issues,” said Steward, who said fixing the park's two bathrooms is not a priority. “The facilities are adequate for right now.”

The Plan

The town has a list of capital expenditures it wants to do, which are large, one-time projects. On that list is a $61,000 figure and a $21,000 figure to upgrade the bathrooms at Waterford Beach, although both Steward and Flaherty said that number is inaccurate and Steward said the project will not be included in in his proposed 2013-14 budget.

The goal is to get the two bathrooms at Waterford Beach off of a septic system and connected to a town sewer line. The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center is planning on extending the sewer line off of Great Neck Road for a proposed expansion to the theater, and then that line will be extended to the bathrooms at Waterford Beach Park, Flaherty said.

However, there is no concrete timetable for when the Eugene O’Neill is planning on extending the sewer line, and therefore no concrete timetable for when Waterford can upgrade its bathrooms at Waterford Beach Park, Flaherty said. Flaherty said he didn’t want to upgrade the facilities now because it would be an even greater expense to rip it up again later to connect it to the sewer line, and there is a chance the bathrooms might have to be moved.

“It is a complicated project,” Flaherty said. “And we want to be able to do it all at once.”

There is no definitive cost for the project either, because the $61,000 figure and the $21,000 figure to upgrade the two bathrooms does not include the cost of installing a sewer line, Steward said. He said that figure could be well above $50,000, although the town could use its own labor to bring down the cost, he said.

Once the exact cost is calculated, it still needs to be funded, Steward said. Other capital projects, like upgrading Waterford’s animal shelter or the town’s public work’s garage would take priority over new bathrooms at Waterford Beach Park, he said.

Flaherty was sympathetic to the many Waterford Patch users who asked for new bathrooms. He said he would love to get new bathrooms connected to a sewer line to ensure there are no environmental issues in the future, and he wanted to upgrade them so they would be fully handicap accessible.

“It is time,” Flaherty said. “They are older facilities.”

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