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Santa Maria City Council to vote on park restrooms cleaned twice a day

With an estimated 28 parks, a majority of them have restrooms that city officials say need professional cleaning not once, but twice a day.
Santa Maria parks challenge.jpg
Posted at 8:08 PM, Aug 14, 2023

UPDATE: The council approved the agenda item Tuesday night in a 5-0 vote.

ORIGINAL STORY: The City of Santa Maria is considering a new contract that would increase how often restrooms at local parks are cleaned.

With an estimated 28 parks, a majority of them have restrooms that city officials say need professional cleaning, not once, but twice a day.

The city wants to make the cleanliness of restrooms at local parks a top priority.

Parks director, Alex Posada, says making sure families have safe and clean facilities is a big factor for a new proposal that will go before the Santa Maria City Council Tuesday night.

“Our past experience factor was that even though they're cleaned in the morning, by the time someone comes out after 5 p.m. and wants to use a facility, that facility's already pretty much needed needs attention," Posada said.

The change would mean an outside janitorial service would clean park bathrooms twice a day — once in the morning and again in the afternoon.

Posada says the city understands people with no access to other facilities may need to use the restrooms at times, but say the park bathrooms are also targets for vandalism.

Other times, things are left inside that need to be cleared.

“We do have individuals that house themselves in the restrooms, which then create a problem where they're no longer available to the general public," Posada further explained. "And they bring in a lot of personal items, leave them there, so we have to go in and remove those items.”

The Recreations and Parks Department has allotted $162,000 toward the increased cleaning.

Frequent park users in Santa Maria say twice-a-day cleaning would be beneficial.

"The restrooms at times can be a little messy," Greg Greeley said. "It would be nice if it was maybe cleaned in the afternoon. And, if you got the timing and the analytical problems when people spend most of their time here, then you could set up a second cleaning and that would be nice for the kids."

Should the city council turn down the proposal, the alternative is to have city maintenance crews resume park restroom service once a day.

The agenda packet states the City of Santa Maria has used private contractors for its park restrooms for the past 10 years to allow city park crews to focus more on program support and ground maintenance.

Tomorrow's council meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.