New public restrooms won't be ready for Applefest

WESTON, Mo. — Visitors to Applefest will need to wait one more year for permanent public restrooms in downtown Weston.

A project years in the planning stages recentlyhit another hurdle — wait times for vandal-proof bathroom fixtures. The Weston Board of Aldermen heard the update at its regular board meeting Monday, Sept. 11.

With Weston mayor Cliff Harvey absent, board president Mark Seymour presided over the meeting. Several items, including the often-resurrected discussion on short-term vacation rentals, were tabled to the October meeting. Due to the Columbus Day holiday, that meeting was rescheduled to Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Seymour, who has spearheaded the public restroom project, and public works director Mike Large said that despite their best efforts, the project had fallen behind schedule. The restrooms are located in the old police station building, at Thomas and Blackhawk streets, which since the relocation of the police department has been used as storage.

The building has long been targeted as a potential space for public restrooms, which are one of the most-requested downtown amenities to serve tourists. Over the last few years, the city has pursued various grant programs to fund construction of public restrooms, including those through big-box home improvement stores.

Weston received a $25,000 grant from the Platte County Parks and Recreation Outreach grant program earlier this year and moved ahead with the project. Seymour sketched up a plan, and Large and his crews have completed the interior rough-in and plumbing.

Stall panels and HVAC systems are being priced for purchase, but the real problem is ordering fixtures.

“We’re going to have to take a look at some of these fixtures,” Seymour said. “Some of these costs are just astronomical.”

Large explained the fixtures are reinforced and hardened against potential damage from vandals, which drives up the price. The toilets and sinks are self-powered units with no exposed plumbing or handles to damage.

As specialty products, they require four to five weeks to manufacture and ship once an order is placed.

“They’d have to get into the walls to do anything,” Large said.

Weston alderman Joyce Priddy said that purchasing such hardened fixtures is important.

“Oh, it’s important, but I think we need to shop around,” Seymour said.

Weston Chamber of Commerce president Pat Egan asked early in the meeting if the chamber needed to order its usual portable restrooms for Applefest, which kicked off the later discussion on the restroom project. So for this Applefest, portable restrooms will again be the primary resource for visitors.

Also at the meeting, the board discussed options for recovering from the approximately $22,000 in hail damage sustained to city property during severe storms on March 6. Roof replacements on four city buildings are required, with three structures to receive metal roofing and one to get a new shingled roof. Bids came in with a few irregularities that the board decided it needed to further discuss.

A special meeting will be scheduled for later this month, to discuss bids on the roof projects and costs for the restroom project. A closed session meeting to discuss personnel was also requested by alderman Rebecca Rooney.