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New restrooms coming to parks in Homer this summer

A portable toilet at Karen Hornaday Park on Feb. 1, 2024. New mobile restrooms will replace the porta-potty later this year.
Jamie Diep
/
KBBI
A portable toilet at Karen Hornaday Park on Feb. 1, 2024. New mobile restrooms will replace the porta-potty later this year.

After years without functional restrooms, the Homer City Council approved the purchase of mobile restrooms for Karen Hornaday and Jack Gist parks. Jack Gist Park currently has no restrooms, and Karen Hornaday Park only has portable toilets after its restroom was torn down.

Unlike porta-potties, these mobile restrooms the city is purchasing from Comforts of Home Services, Incorporated are trailers with three flushable toilets and running water. Public Works Superintendent Mike Zelinski says these units are the cheapest, fastest way to get working restrooms in the parks.

“This was a solution that we could have a bathroom this summer versus something three years down the road at minimum and possibly five to seven years,” he said.

Last week, the city council passed two ordinances and a resolution that put $227,500 from the city’s budget towards purchasing and installing the units.

Parks maintenance coordinator Chad Felice had the idea to get these units after he saw them being used in Wrangell. Felice says there was a need to get restrooms into the parks, which become extremely busy in the summertime.

“Our high school softball team plays out at Jack Gist. We have adult softball leagues. There's a summer softball program. There's disc golf out there, so it's a very busy place with, you know, no restrooms and nowhere to wash your hands and that type of thing,” he said, “and same thing with Karen Hornaday. It's very busy. If you've ever been up there in the summer on a Little League night, and there's, you know, 70, 80 cars in the parking lot.”

The city’s current plan is to install one restroom each in both parks, with the capability to add a second restroom at Karen Hornaday Park. After finalizing paperwork, the restrooms will be built in Illinois before making the long journey to Homer, where they should be ready for use this summer.

Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at jamie@kbbi.org to send story ideas.