AVON LAKE — Two years ago, plans for a restroom to be constructed at a city park maintained by the Lorain County Metro Parks were halted by opposition from nearby residents.
The push for a facility is again being made by a citizens group that says public facilities are desperately needed by families and older people who frequent the area.
“I have talked with quite a few people who have confessed to using the woods, to going behind a tree, when the urge comes upon them,” said Terry Wyrock, a member of the group leading the drive. “If I lived in that area, I’d insist on a restroom being installed. It only makes sense.”
Wyrock, his wife, Diana, Jan Van Wagner and eight other Avon Lake residents are trying to gather 2,000 signatures by the end of October to present to City Council asking for the city’s blessing on the restroom project.
The group is known as the Save the Woods Committee, which came back together over the restroom issue after getting started in 2002 to push for the Kopf Family Reservation, a 162-acre park that has become very popular.
A public bathroom was first proposed in 2010 for Belle Road Park, a small city-owned site that is maintained by the Metro Parks, whose 160-acre Kopf Family Reservation surrounds it.
“That park (Kopf Reservation) is used by a lot of people who run, bike and skate the trails there,” Wyrock said. “It’s a beautiful park in the center of the city. Putting a restroom in the middle of it is the logical solution.”
The Metro Parks originally bid out the Belle Road Park restroom as part of a three-restroom project that eventually saw construction of new bathrooms at Days Dam Park in Lorain and High Meadows in Elyria, according to Metro Parks Director Jim Ziemnik.
The Avon Lake facility would likely cost $90,000 to $100,000 and would be paid for by the park district, Ziemnik said.
A restroom built in the city-owned park on Belle Road would require city approval as the county park district would need city sewer and water lines and electric service to the site, according to Ziemnik.
Ziemnik recently talked with Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka about the project.
“We just want to be on the same page on this,” Ziemnik said. “The final conclusion was when the city and Council were ready to come back to us with a formal request, we’ll be ready to talk about it.”
Residents living near the Belle Road Park previously expressed worries over vandalism, possible sexual incidents, or other unwanted activity.
“People have worried about it attracting pedophiles, but it just wouldn’t happen,” Wyrock said. “They’re just looking for a reason to avoid putting a restroom facility in there.”
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.