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City cuts tissue on new restrooms

Mayor Barbara Volk cuts the tissue on new downtown restrooms. Mayor Barbara Volk cuts the tissue on new downtown restrooms.

Addressing one of the most urgent needs downtown, the city officially opened the new public restroom facility on Monday with a traditional cutting of untraditional toilet tissue.

After reading a proclamation declaring this coming Saturday as Small Business Saturday, Mayor Barbara Volk snapped the scissors on the toilet paper. Guests were invited to a test flush and tour of the facility, a renovation of the 1920s building by Dunlap Construction.

Conversations between City Council and the Downtown Main Street Advisory Committee about the most pressing infrastructure needs for the district led to a presentation on public restroom facility options in early 2018. The options were run through an assessment process guided by Council, the Advisory Committee and the Tourism Development Authority which created preferred location and design guidelines. In early July of 2018 the city, using the guidelines and financial support provided by community partners.

After the city bought the property at 125 Fifth Avenue West in 2018, it hired Samsel Architects of Asheville to develop the renovation plans for the rest rooms and a downtown development upstairs. Following a formal bidding process in the winter of 2019, Dunlap Construction began the job in April.