Barberton exhibits San Francisco how to save cash on $1.7M public bathroom

When it comes to public accommodations, maybe San Francisco authorities should pick up the phone and call Barberton.

The tips from the Midwest could save them about a million dollars – and that's just the cost of installing a toilet, like the one San Francisco planned to install in one of its neighborhoods earlier this year for $1.7 million.

Barberton showed Monday that it can be done for a fraction of the cost on the West Coast when the City Council approved the addition of two restrooms in McCafferty Park, accounting for about 7.1 percent of the total estimated cost of San Francisco's only luxury restroom.

Of course, the City by the Bay's costs weren't just driven up by the restrooms themselves. It also included $60,000 for site improvements unrelated to sanitation, $125,000 for project and construction management, $2,000 for plantings, and $27,600 for unforeseen expenses—because when it comes to public restrooms, you can never be sure.

Barberton's structure will cost about $120,000, with the city providing water and sewer services, said Don Patterson, city parks director.

San Francisco's proposal to install this model of prefabricated toilet in a city park has gained widespread notoriety, as the estimated cost of the project is $1.7 million.

Limiting toilet supplies

The cost to San Francisco attracted widespread attention earlier this year, as media outlets around the world mercilessly ridiculed officials. Even Governor Gavin Newsom got involved, threatening to withhold state funding for the project.

In Barberton, however, when it comes to public restrooms, typical Midwestern frugality and common sense prevail.

Patterson said he wasn't sure why the cost of a toilet in the Golden State was so high.

“That's a good question,” Patterson said. “I don't know who they're dealing with out there.”

“I don’t want to badmouth them”: Director of Barberton Parks works to keep costs down

Patterson said the city strives to be frugal in its projects.

“The spending of government money is a very sensitive issue for me,” Patterson said. “It's taxpayers' money.”

More:Will the new group revitalize downtown? Main Street Barberton organizers talk about their mission

The parks director said the city is also planning restrooms for another park this year. He expects the Decker Park project to go before the City Council in April. He expects installation to occur about six months after City Council approval.

He refused to criticize San Francisco for its toilet farce.

“I don’t want to badmouth them,” he said.

More:6 reasons why you should subscribe to the Akron Beacon Journal

Leave a message for Alan Ashworth at 330-996-3859 or email him at Follow him on Twitter at @newsalanbeaconj.

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