Winamac Park Board Considers Restroom Upgrades

Entrance to the Winamac Town Park

The Winamac Park Board is weighing its options, when it comes to the Town Park’s restroom facilities.

Park Manager Dave DeLorenzo says the restrooms in the shelter building in the front of the park need new plumbing and a paint job before they can reopen in the spring. He told the park board Thursday he’s also explored a longer-term option of rebuilding the structure entirely. That would allow for larger restrooms with more toilets and more room for wheelchairs. The new building would cost around $100,000, according to DeLorenzo.

However, board member Pat Bawcum questioned the need for a brand new building. “I just think that’s a lot of money for toilets,” she said. “Really, it bothers me to tear the building down, for several reasons. One’s if it’s okay, then why tear it down? And I think a lot of people that’s lived here all their lives – I mean, I was born here, believe it or not; my relatives were here, my grandparents were here – and that sort of holds some memories. That’s always been there, and I hate to see us making a bigger footprint, making things bigger. It’s a park.”

Meanwhile, the park board is also considering improvements to the restrooms in the back of the park. The board’s advisory council gathered input from residents and determined that there isn’t a significant need for those restrooms to be open on a regular basis.

Right now, they’re mainly just used during Northern Indiana Power from the Past and the Pulaski County 4-H Fair. Organizers of those events are responsible for the maintenance of those restrooms and other buildings in the back of the park.

But park board member Jon Chapman pointed out they do sit on the town’s property. “We would be the ones sued if someone said it’s not ADA-compliant,” he said. While the restrooms themselves are believed to be compliant, a study done on the area by Purdue University found that the approaches are not.

As for who should pay for the potential upgrades, Park Board President Courtney Poor suggested that the town partner with Northern Indiana Power from the Past and the Pulaski County 4-H Fair to work out an arrangement. “They’re not just going to come out and say, ‘Oh, since you gotta do this, here’s some money!'” he said. “No, I think this board and maybe the advisory board together go to each of these organizations and say, ‘Okay, here’s our situation: you’re getting this, basically, pretty much for a song and that’s the way we’re going to keep it, but we need a little help here, if not with just monetary but with, maybe, manpower.'”

Meanwhile, should the town proceed with rebuilding the restrooms in the front of the park, Town Attorney Justin Schramm brought up the possibility of issuing bonds to cover the cost.