ROCKLAND, Maine — Potty breaks will be easier to take for visitors to downtown Rockland by next year.
The Rockland City Council gave its unanimous approval Monday night to construction of public bathrooms on Tillson Avenue, adjacent to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Johanna Strassberg, the owner of the Grasshopper Shop, told councilors Monday night before their vote that the question she has been asked the most by customers is: “Where are the public bathrooms?” She said it was embarrassing to say that they would have to go several blocks north to the Maine State Ferry Terminal or south to the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce offices to find one.
Strassberg said she eventually rented a portable toilet that she put in back of her shop from May through October.
The project is estimated to cost up to $150,000 and will be paid for through money collected as part of the downtown tax increment financing district.
The 30- by 20-foot building will have concrete clapboard siding and a shingled roof, and it will be heated year-round with excess heat generated at the treatment plant. There will be three stalls on the female side of the building and a stall and a urinal on the side for males.
The planning board will review the proposal at its July 30 meeting.
In other action Monday night, city councilors voted unanimously to accept a $3,000 bid from Orion Boshes for a small parcel of land with a garage on Warren Street that the city had acquired in March for nonpayment of taxes.
Boshes was one of two bidders for the property. His home abuts the property. The other bid was submitted on behalf of Sandra Hastings, whose property abuts the city-owned parcel on the North Main Street side.
Boshes said he may use the garage for an artist studio but he mainly bid on it because the 24- by 48-foot building on the property had been a source of nuisances for years. He said people have tried to live in it despite there being no running water and that they would simply dump their buckets of waste in his backyard.
And in a third waste-related item from Monday night’s council meeting, Mayor William Clayton said small fliers will be produced to hand out to dog owners about their responsibility to pick up their dogs’ wastes. He said that there are too many instances of dog owners not doing that.