At its Tuesday, Jan. 23 meeting, Asheville City Council is slated to vote on the installation of a prefabricated 24-hour restroom outside of the Rankin Avenue parking garage. Council previously voted to allocate $650,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project in May 2022.
Currently, there are six public restrooms that are open for limited hours within Asheville’s downtown corridor, as well as a city-maintained portable restroom that can be accessed 24/7 at the corner of College Street and Rankin Avenue.
The project aims to fill the gap left by the city’s last 24/7 restroom at 29 Haywood St, which closed in March 2020 and never reopened. City officials cited increased maintenance costs, drug use and vandalism as causes for its permanent closure.
As previously reported by Xpress, the new restroom is set to be a Portland Loo, a 7-by-10-foot single stall structure with a flush toilet. By design, the bathroom’s blue interior lighting makes it difficult for intravenous drug users to find a vein for injection. Additional site lighting and security cameras will also be installed to mitigate issues with vandalism.
If approved, it is anticipated that construction of the restroom will start in spring 2024 and will take three months to complete.
Consent agenda and public comment
The consent agenda for the meeting contains six items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:
- A resolution authorizing the city manager to execute a contract amendment with TRY Inc. for summer bus transportation service needs for recreation programs.
- A resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into an interlocal agreement between the City of Asheville and Asheville City Schools for the use of facilities to expand public recreation programs. If approved, Asheville Parks and Recreation will be given access to the school system’s outdoor athletic fields, indoor gymnasiums and meeting rooms.
- A resolution authorizing the city manager to execute a contract amendment with Passport Labs, Inc. for parking enforcement equipment and software to extend the contract term to June 30, 2024.
Council members will gather in their chambers on the second floor of City Hall, located at 70 Court Plaza, starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be carried live on Charter/Spectrum Channel 193 and livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 5899.
Those who wish to speak during the meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door. No live remote comment will be permitted. Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 5899; written comments can be sent to AshevilleCityCouncilJan232024@publicinput.com until 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23. General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to AshevilleNCCouncil@AshevilleNC.gov.
The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.