City looks to renew $45K contract to keep Old Town public restrooms open

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque spends a lot of money on a bathroom in Old Town to help locals and tourists out. The problem is, not many people can find it.

It’s a surprise to many people that there’s a public bathroom in Old Town’s Plaza Don Luis. Business owners say people ask them where they are all the time.

“A number of times every day if there’s people walking around in Old Town,” says Vicky Jackson, who works in Old Town.

As it turns out, the city pays a private business owner $45,000 every three years to open the restrooms to the public. It’s been like that for about 20 years.

At Monday night’s city council meeting, the city will look at renewing the contract. Visitors say that money could be better spent on adding more bathrooms.

“Around the square here because that’s where most people are. Maybe more around the center area,” says Laura Johnson, a local.

The city’s Parks and Rec. Superintendent says that’s not possible.

“The historical nature of the square isn’t necessarily amenable to having bathrooms right on the square,” says Mark Chavez.

The city says the $45,000 is well worth the cost.

“That actually is a fair number considering all of the work and expense that goes into taking care of a bathroom, a public bathroom of all things,” Chavez says.

While visitors and Old Town employees believe the restroom is needed, they think it needs to be more visible.

“I think it should be more advertised where they are because they’re great bathrooms,” says Jackson.

It’s an idea that the city might consider.

“We hadn’t looked at signage, however, we’re not opposed to maybe adding signage in some places,” says Chavez.

On top of having a bathroom, the city already has plans to put a Portland Loo in the Old Town parking lot near Central and San Felipe. The fancy, new $20,000 portable bathroom is scheduled to go in sometime in the spring.

The contract with the city and the owners of the restrooms will go before city council Monday night. It has been repeatedly passed for the last 20 years.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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