BROKEN BOW—Opinions vary regarding a restroom in the city square park but there is one thing almost everyone at Monday night’s forum could probably agree on: the Broken Bow City Square is an asset to the community.
During the forum at the Municipal Building local business owner Bill Butler even said the city square park is a “crown jewel” not only in central Nebraska, but throughout the whole state.
On behalf of the Park Board, Chairman Paul Holland welcomed everyone to the Municipal Building and stated the board wants public input and that no decisions have been made regarding placement of a potentially permanent restroom in the square. Early drafts show a single restroom with toilet, urinal, diaper changing station, mechanical room, and community bulletin board in a structure roughly drawn as a six-by-six foot building.
“With this live meeting and the meeting next month hopefully it’ll give us some ideas on what your feelings are to it. Pros, cons, whatever,” Holland continued. #1091 1:20 “Our number one key is we don’t want to destroy the park.”
Jeff Oeltjen added that should the project move forward, all caution will be taken to ensure the aesthetics of the park be maintained.
Parks Superintendent Darren Marten said water and sewer lines currently exist on the north side of the square where the restroom would potentially be built. Early estimates of the project range from $14,000 to $17,000.
Residents had the opportunity to voice their concerns and ask questions on Monday night with concerns including public safety, the danger of having young kids cross the street to use facilities at nearby restaurants/businesses, cleanliness and maintenance, and an echoing desire to keep the park beautiful—whether that is with or without a restroom.
Business owner Dick Taylor agreed there is a need, but not at the expense of obstructing the view of the square. He said the city has spent a lot of money downtown and is concerned of changing the view of the square.
“The visibility that’s in the park is beautiful right now, I’d hate to see that lost,” Taylor said.
Some attendees such as Priscilla Wynn inquired about the possibility of using a storefront property on the square to renovate a bathroom, rather than have a free standing structure in the square.
Kaleigh Berghorst, a mother of three kids, was one of few people in attendance who voiced that she has young children and brings them to the playground in the square. Berghorst said her family enjoys spending time in the park and agreed there is a need for a restroom in the square. She said if they go home to use the restroom, they stay at home rather than spend more time downtown.
Bev Williams told the park board, “I don’t care where you put it [restroom] but put it somewhere and it’ll be wonderful.”
A second public forum will be held Monday, October 7 at 5:10 p.m. at the Broken Bow Public Library at 626 South D Street.