By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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The council voted 6-0 Monday night to approve the advocates’ plan to build a 12,049-square-foot restroom facility and maintenance shed next to the playfields by the James Center for the Performing Arts in the city’s Water Reuse Demonstration Site.
The project will include construction of an eight-stall bathroom and maintenance facility, creation of 29 parking spaces along Rhodefer Road on the playfields’ east end and a cul de sac “drop-off area” at the end of the playfield driveway by the James Center.
Councilman Ted Miller abstained from the vote after saying he felt a group of concerned citizens was being ignored.
“There are 150 residents that I think we should pay attention to,” he said.
He said a resident told him he represented 150 neighbors of the playfields who were concerned the restroom facility will attract vandals and vagrants.
Miller said he also was told a petition signed by those neighbors had been delivered to City Hall, but City Manager Steve Burkett said he had seen no such petition.
“Claims are easy to make. Do we have complaints?” asked Councilman Ken Hays.
Joe Irvin, special projects manager for the city, said the restrooms will require 3.75 hours of janitorial service by the city weekly.
That is in addition to costs of keeping restrooms stocked with supplies such as toilet paper and soap.
Keeping all but two of the restrooms locked except when large gatherings are at the park would help reduce maintenance costs, Irvin said.
The others would be opened during tournaments or events.
The improvements will be funded by the Albert Haller Foundation, which was a large contributor to the playfields’ initial construction.
Craig Stevenson of Sequim Family Advocates previously told the Peninsula Daily News the group hoped to have the new facilities in place in time for this August’s Dungeness Cup soccer tournament, though he noted this weekend’s Lavender Weekend could slow down construction.
Stevenson in May said the advocates would know the cost of the project after getting city approval to move forward.
He noted that the playfields draw as many as 1,500 people during Sequim Junior Soccer’s season, and attendees often have to park on the grass.
Sequim Junior Soccer brings port-a-potties to the playfields for game days but removes them at the end of play.
This year’s Dungeness Cup, scheduled Aug. 1-3, is expected to have as many as 100 teams, up from the 25 at the first edition in 2012.
For more, visit the Dungeness Cup website at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-dcup.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.