Expensive price tag tables public restroom project in Columbus - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

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Expensive price tag tables public restroom project in Columbus

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Interior of future public restroom Interior of future public restroom
COLUMBUS, Ga. - A plan to add some relief options to the Columbus RiverWalk in the form of public restrooms under the 14th Street pedestrian bridge has been put on hold. Some city council members say they are concerned about the cost of those commodes to taxpayers.

At Monday's council meeting, the Planning Department said it will cost $243,861 to outfit the restroom. The city has partnered with the Georgia Department of Transportation to fund the project, and it would pay 80 percent of the cost, leaving the city with less than $50,000 to pay.

Some councilors say it's the principle of the cost to taxpayers that keeps them from giving the green light, and Planning Director Rick Jones says he understands their concerns. "
We'll go back and review the numbers and be able to come back hopefully and share that information with them and see how it goes from there," he says.

He says the restroom project is so expensive because the utilities have to be routed from the street above, and that won't be cheap. Jones says, "I
t's got some challenges. It's not a traditional building going in there, but that's what we've been charged to do is go in there and show council how that may or may not work."

Some local businesses like Country's on Broad say the new restroom will help alleviate the foot traffic they get from the RiverWalk.

Country's co-owner Grif Morpeth says, "It would help, I believe, because some of these guys can go down there, and people out on the RiverWalk out there riding their bikes can have a place to go."

Currently, a few people a day come to Country's simply for the restroom. The owners and employees say it's not a major problem, but they'd welcome another option.

The company who got the contract, Scott Bridge Company out of Opelika, actually had the lowest bid of three different proposals for the project. Jones says he will try to have a new estimate for the project by the next city council meeting.

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Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.

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