Jackson's lack of public restrooms raises concerns

By Daymond Steer

JACKSON — Residents and selectmen are trying come up with a solution regarding the lack of public bathrooms in town.

The issue came up at the selectmen's meeting of July 28. Chairman Bob Thompson read a letter about that from Alicia Hawkes from White Mountain Puzzles. She wrote that a "steady stream" of people come into the store looking for the bathroom.

"Lots of money is spent inviting tourists to stroll around the village and hike up to the falls, and there's nowhere for them to go pee," wrote Hawks. "The town should open the restroom at the ball field and the chamber should be responsible for supplies at least."

Thompson said Road Agent Pat Kelley said the ball field bathroom works but the hot water doesn't because a water main broke. Thompson also said the ball field building is used as a storage space for sports programs, which makes it not ideal to open to the public.

The library management committee suggested Porta-Pottys be used at events, said Thompson.

Selectmen expressed concern that the ball fields might be too far away from the businesses to be of use. They also discussed opening up the fire department to the public for that purpose, but eventually decided against it.

Edith Houlihan said one quick solution would be to put a sign on the covered bridge saying bathrooms are available at the town office and library when they are open.

"It's the most discouraging thing, as I travel, to walk into a place that says 'no public restroom,'" said Houlihan, adding she won't spend her money in places that don't offer bathrooms.

One resident said he didn't think that portable toilets are Jackson's style, while another resident, who lives near the falls, said people walk up his driveway and urinate in his woods.

Selectmen said they'd mull the issue at their next meeting, which is scheduled for Aug. 11.