OCEANSIDE — City Council earmarked a chunk of funds from the city Laguna Vista Mobile Home Park sale to pay for rebuilding and refurbishing beach restrooms.
Beach restrooms at Breakwater Way, Sportfisher Drive, Tyson Street and the pier amphitheater will be rebuilt.
Renovations will be made to beach restrooms at Wisconsin Street and those on the pier.
On June 26, $3 million was set aside to upgrade beach restrooms. Earlier in June $650,000 of the mobile home park sale proceeds was designated to move river sand to south Oceanside beaches.
Restroom upgrades were strongly supported by downtown business owners and Oceanside tourism promoters who spoke at the meeting.
Mayor Jim Wood questioned the designation of funds without more community input and abstained from the vote. Councilwoman Esther Sanchez brought up the same objection to spending mobile home sale funds on June 5.
She was absent June 26. All other council members voted yes.
Wood suggested the funds could be put toward the planned low-income housing project or making required rail improvements to establish quiet zones.
“Its one-time money,” Wood said. “I’d rather spend it somewhere else. We haven’t asked the public.”
Those who spoke in support of setting aside funds for restroom upgrades said improving beach restrooms would benefit residents and visitors.
“I’ve watched the bathrooms become less and less desirable,” John Daley, owner of 101 Cafe, said. “It’s time we do something really nice and really smart along the beach.”
Councilman Jerry Kern said no matter what visitors do in Oceanside, they always go to the restrooms. He added that he would like that to be a pleasant experience for visitors.
“We have a more tourist-driven economy,” Kern said.
“The beach restrooms is the No. 1 activity in Oceanside,” Leslie Gaul, CEO and president of Visit Oceanside, said. “Its a public relations issue. We have received complaints from visitors who don’t plan to return.”
According to project manager Nathan Mertz, of the Development Services Department, restroom upgrades will be done in two phases. In the first phase $1.2 million will be used to tear down and rebuild restrooms at Breakwater Way, Sportfisher Drive and Tyson Street, as well as renovate restrooms at Wisconsin Street and those on the pier.
Newly constructed restroom building will have a butterfly-style roof design, and unisex stalls with individual entry doors. The buildings will also sport surfboard racks and built-in benches.
The efficient redesign of the restrooms will reduce their footprint and add more restroom stalls.
At Breakwater Way upgrades will add 40 square feet of sand and eight additional restroom stalls, for a total of 12 stalls.
The redesign will also add 500 square feet of sand at Sportfisher Drive and 11 more stalls, for a total of 14 stalls. At Tyson Street nine more stalls will be added, for a total of 14.
Renovations of the Wisconsin Street and pier restrooms will comprise of upgrades of finishes and fixtures.
In the second phase $1.7 million will be spent to rebuild restrooms by the pier amphitheater.
Mertz said staff is looking at how to best utilize a combination of the space of the historic restrooms that cannot be torn down, and the nearby storage building.
The current beach restrooms were built at different times between the 1920s and 1980s.
Phase I of the project is expected to begin in fall 2014.