By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
CAIRO — Vandalism at the public bathrooms at Angelo Canna Town Park prompted the town council to close the facility for a portion of the time.
To provide a bathroom facility during off-hours, the council approved the rental of a port-a-potty at a cost of $2,535 a year.
The permanent bathrooms at the park have been vandalized numerous times, causing costly damage, Town Supervisor Jason Watts said at the April 20 meeting of the council.
“We went through almost $1,000 worth of stuff,” Watts said. “Urinals, soap dispensers have been broken. There was feces all over the walls.”
Other forms of vandalism included foreign objects being pushed down into the toilets, Watts said.
“We had cones stuffed in the toilet, rolls of toilet paper stuffed into them. It’s every time we turn around,” the town supervisor said.
The facility had to be pressure washed and Watts proposed that after that is done, the bathrooms be closed overnight.
“I am going to propose a resolution that would let us get a port-a-potty down there — it costs $2,535 for the whole year and we would open the bathrooms up during the day when people are around to at least watch it a little bit,” Watts said. “If there are any events, we would open up the bathrooms, but we can’t keep replacing everything inside these bathrooms.”
Watts said he spoke with the Little League coaches, who agreed to lock the bathroom doors after they finish games and practices so the bathrooms will remain closed during off-hours.
There are surveillance cameras in the park, but the vandalism is taking place inside the bathrooms, where cameras would not be permitted.
“We have cameras there, but we don’t know what is going on inside the bathroom,” Watts said.
No arrests have been made at this time, Watts said.
The town council voted unanimously to approve the rental of a portable toilet from Big Top for $2,535 for year-round use.
“We use it anyway during the wintertime because we shut the building down, but this will give us a place where we can lock the doors and someone can still go to the bathroom,” Watts said.
Deputy Town Supervisor MaryJo Cords asked if the town could use a portion of its COVID-19 relief funds, awarded by the federal government, to pay for the portable toilet since it is a hygiene issue.
Watts said he will look into the matter.
In other parks news, Watts said he is considering using one of the town park’s basketball courts for a dual use — as a pickleball court.
Pickleball is a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, and is played on a badminton-sized court with a modified tennis net, using a paddle and a plastic ball with holes, according to USA Pickleball.
The sport is growing in popularity and can be played by people of all ages.
“There is a basketball court down at the town park, the one closest to the walking path, which is twice the size of the basketball court than we really need,” Watts said. “I have been having a lot of people asking for pickleball. I went to Coxsackie, where they have a pickleball court — there was a line of people waiting to play pickleball, and they were of all ages. I guess it’s a lot easier on your joints and it’s more personable.”
The existing basketball court can accommodate both sports with minor modification, the town supervisor said.
“I measured it out and the court is big enough for both a basketball court and two pickleball courts, so I want to get some pricing to see how much it would cost to just paint lines and the nets, for something else for people to do in the town park,” Watts said.
He will provide costs and another update at the board’s next meeting, he said.