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Community Gives Input On Beach Restroom Design:

As part of the process of replacing eight of its beach restrooms, the City of Santa Monica held a community open house at the Beach Green on Barnard Way to ask the community about what amenities the new beach restrooms should contain.

On hand were representatives from the City’s Community and Cultural Services Department and members of Roesling, Nakamura, Terada Architects, the team the City has hired to design the new restrooms.  Five of the new restrooms will be on Ocean Front Walk and the other three will be located on Palisades Beach Road.

The City’s Assistant Director of Community and Cultural Services, Karen Ginsberg, told the Mirror that the City had signed a State of California consent decree for Americans for Disability Act (ADA) compliance and that this project was part of that consent decree obligation.  The current beach bathrooms were built 30 years ago and don’t meet the ADA requirements.

Ginsberg also mentioned that the City allocated $4 million for this project several years ago so the funding was not effected by the recent downturn in the economy.  She also stated that a very diversified range of people came to give their input.  Visitors included residents, surfers, volleyball players, and people with children.

A summary statement displayed at the open house stated that the City believes “there is the potential to create structures that go beyond programmatic requirements and embrace the spirit of the beach while telling the story of Santa Monica.”  This is one of the concepts the community had the opportunity to comment on.  

Community members also were able to suggest what amenities they thought would be appropriate for each restroom location.  The amenity menu they got to chose from included multi-head shower stations within a plaza area, a seven-foot concrete wall where visitors can lean surfboards and hang other beach gear when while they shower, a drinking fountain, a place to park bicycles, places to sit, and a place for visitors to rinse their feet.

The CEO/President of Santa Monica’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Misti Kerns told the Mirror the beach restrooms are “such an important part of the beach experience.”  The restrooms should provide the privacy people need and at the same time “it is critical that they be safe and clean.”

The City’s Recreation and Parks Commission will review the community’s comments and the architects’ suggested plans on October 15.  Their recommendations and the community’s comments will then be reviewed by the City Council in November. The California’s Coastal Commission and the City’s Architectural Review Board will also review the project.  Construction is expected to begin after Labor Day, 2010.

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