In an effort to make its streets cleaner, the city of San Antonio is getting its first 24-hour public restroom — and it cost nearly $100,000.
According to the Rivard Report, the city will unveil its new toilet downtown on Thursday. The single restroom is called the “Portland Loo,” which is a type of toilet that has been successful in Portland, and cost the city $97, 700 — though that’s just the price not including installation.
The toilet, whose price has been a point of contention among city taxpayers, was approved by City Council to fight costs associated with cleaning public urination and to keep people from using downtown business for their bathrooms. The restroom is designed with a sink on its exterior to prevent people from bathing and the bottom of the structure is made up of open grates so police officers can check for illegal activity.
“People don’t realize how much we spend in time and energy and effort,” San Antonio District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino told KSAT12. “Never mind the inconvenience of having to clean up our sidewalks because so many people urinate or defecate on our downtown streets and sidewalks.”
In 2014, the American-Statesman’s editorial board wrote about whether public toilets could help Austin’s watersheds and discussed the use of Portland Loos. And in 2013, the Austin school district budgeted $833,333 for each of Austin’s high schools to receive new outdoor restrooms and concession storerooms. But estimates by architects showed that the restrooms, complete with multiple toilets, would cost about $163,000 at Akins High School and $120,000 at Eastside Memorial High School.
And don’t forget about the glass-walled public toilet in Sulphur Springs that made it to top 10 in the “America’s Best Restroom” contest that only cost $54,000.