Stonington Borough to seek state funding for public bathrooms
Stonington — The Board of Warden and Burgesses voted Monday night to proceed with plans to build public bathrooms on Wadawanuck Square and ask the state to fund a large portion of the work.
Warden Jeffery Callahan said Tuesday he is writing a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont asking the state to appropriate $300,000 in bonding money for the $400,000 project.
There are no public restrooms for tourists and other visitors in the borough. Many business owners have long urged borough officials to create a public restroom for visitors, like those in Mystic, while 75% of borough residents in a survey favored the creation of public bathrooms, as did residents at this past spring’s annual Borough Meeting.
After seeing the support, the borough formed a committee that studied the idea and then recommended proceeding with the project.
Callahan said that in addition to the $300,000 being requested from the state, the borough would use $50,000 of it $261,000 federal American Rescue Plan Act pandemic relief funds while the Stonington Village Improvement Association would try to raise another $50,000.
Callahan said the the bathrooms would help support tourism while the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the importance of sanitary facilities.
Asked if he was planning to ask the town to help fund the work, Callahan said he first wanted to see the state’s response to the request for funding. He said he initially had asked the town for funding in the 2022-23 budget but withdrew that request because the project was not ready to move forward at the time.
If the funding can be obtained, Callahan said he would like to open the bathrooms next spring.
The plan, developed by local architect Julia Leeming, calls for placing the building with two unisex bathrooms and a maintenance room behind the rear of the Stonington Free Library at the north end of the square. The design is meant to blend in with those of St. Mary Church, the library and the post office across the street.