If Downtown Redevelopment Corp. Executive Director David Sebok has his way, there will be permanent public restrooms on Ocean Boulevard by next spring.
There are a number of things that would need to occur in order for that to happen, but the timeline is realistic, said Myrtle Beach city spokesman Mark Kruea.
“It’s an issue that’s been discussed for a number of years,” Kruea said.
Sebok told the DRC board of directors during a retreat Wednesday the organization is working with the city’s Cultural and Leisure Services to evaluate the potential to replace at least the Plyler Park restroom trailer with a permanent structure similar to those being installed in North Myrtle Beach.
“It’s embarrassing to me that, here we are, this great tourist destination and we don’t have [ample] public bathrooms,” Sebok said.
The DRC would have to work with the Department of Public Works and construction services to build the restrooms, Kruea said. The project isn’t something that would have to go before City Council, but Kruea said they likely would want to be kept in the loop.
Sebok said he thought North Myrtle Beach facilities being built could be a good model to follow.
“They appear to be specifically responsive to public facilities [needs] when they’re on the beach. They’re sturdy, maintenance minimizing, attractive and safe,” he said.
North Myrtle Beach spokesman Patrick Dowling said the city’s permanent public beach restrooms are built from the ground up at the site and are used as much by residents as they are by tourists.
“One thing to note is that the restrooms are installed together with other street end improvements in a park-like oceanfront setting. Parking, sitting areas, landscaping and restrooms. They do not just stand there by themselves,” he said.
North Myrtle Beach has permanent facilities on First, Sixth, Seventh and 17th Avenues South, 22nd Avenue North and Shorehaven Drive. Two more restroom facilities will open at 39th and 46 Avenues South this spring, Dowling said.
DRC board chairman Chuck Martino said getting permanent bathrooms has been a long process.
The trailers – one located at Plyler Park near Ocean Boulevard and one located at Eighth Avenue and Ocean Boulevard – have been in use for at least three seasons, Sebok said.
He said the trailers are highly used and, in some cases, abused.
“People tend not to treat public facilities the way they treat their bathrooms at home,” Kruea said. “And they get a fair amount of use. In the summer time there’s a line waiting to get into the restroom.”