The First Of Many? Downtown Billings Installs Public Restroom
In a "Wow, I never realized this" moment today... Downtown Billings Alliance announced they have erected the first-ever Public Restroom in Downtown Billings.
It Never Crossed My Mind
Honestly, this had never occurred to me how we do not have a single one Downtown... but it is certainly a welcome addition! I've always had the luxury of just walking into a store and using one if needed. Though I can see how some may not be as welcome in a store to do that.
The public restroom is known as the Portland Loo and was selected specifically for the ability to provide a usable outdoor restroom and prevent as much crime related to the unit as possible.
According to Joe Stout, Director of Operations for the Business Improvement District:
We have researched various public restroom facility options for our downtown for a number of years. The need has been there but it’s taken time to find the one that meets our downtown's specific needs and wants.
Portland Loo points out the restroom's unique features related to crime prevention:
The typical public toilet is mistakenly designed to make users as comfortable as possible which only increases the likelihood of illicit behavior. It might sound counter-intuitive, but the more privacy and accommodation a public toilet provides, the more it will be misused.
This unit has holes along the top and bottom, providing privacy, and allowing pedestrians and law enforcement to glance and see if someone is inside.
This unit also includes an outside handwashing station, replaceable and durable materials to resist vandalism, and takes up the same space as a small parking spot.
Where Can We Take It For A Spin?
You'll find the new public restroom at 210 N. 27th Street, west of the Park 3 Parking Garage.
Transparency: How Much Did This Cost?
According to the release:
The project, led by the BID, received an initial Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in May 2021 in the total of $117,715 with a second CDBG of $75,000 in June 2023. The CDBG dollars came from Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for community projects offering public health solutions in the wake of the Coronavirus. In January 2022 this specific BID project was granted additional funding of $70,000 from the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you think Downtown needs more of these facilities scattered around? Do you think the cutouts in the unit are counterintuitive, and may allow for bad actors to look inside while you use it? Let us know on App Chat or on Facebook.