It's been part of an ongoing conversation the Bangor City Council has been having for the past 2 years: how to meet the need for public bathrooms in the city?

Sara D. Davis
Sara D. Davis

At a meeting of the Government Operations Committee last Wednesday (January 3rd) Bangor Parks and Rec Director Tracy Willette outlined a proposal that would see 7 steel units created and placed on concrete pads in designated spots throughout downtown Bangor and its surrounding parks.


Willette said his department has been trying, with various degrees of success, to meet this need for years, putting portable restrooms in areas of Pickering Square, the Bangor Waterfront, Fairmount Park, Broadway Park, and up on Cleveland Street.

The issue of maintaining the restrooms has been a problem, as has the damage the structures sustained, over and above normal wear and tear, by folks who sought their ruin.

paper out of order sign on bathroom or restroom urinal
Justin Smith

But Willette says there have been examples where the public restrooms have worked, such as the Harbor Master Building, the new Transit Center, some portable units out at Cascade Park, and the outhouses in the Bangor City Forest.

Willette says he had been researching what the best approach would be to making bathrooms available to the public when he came across a potential fix that our neighbors in the southern part of the state have been using successfully.

Portland came up with a solution that seems to be working well, wherein a steel unit, much like a regular porta-potty except built to be a lot sturdier, is situated on a concrete pad in certain high-trafficked areas of town.

Cori Skall
Cori Skall

The City would like to put 7 of these units in spots like Fairmount and Broadway Parks, Chapin Park, Coe Park, and Broad Street.

City Manager Debbie Laurie says the project would be paid using money from the American Rescue Plan Act ( ARPA), funding that's been made available from the Federal Government to the City of Bangor.

Stack of white tissue paper rolls.
Matze Fotograf_Bln

Each unit costs about $30,000 to create, along with the cost of the upkeep and the concrete pad it rests on. City Councilors have proposed putting forth $250,000 total towards 7 of these units, with a public art component of beautifying the units included in that price tag, to make them feel more like part of the neighborhood.

Willette says it would be about $1200 a year, per unit, to service them.

toilet urinal public white in bathroom with copy space add text

The City is still in conversations as to whether these units will be open 24/7 or if there will be hours of operation adopted.

No word yet on when Bangor residents could see the units installed.

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