EL looks to combine public bathroom, chamber office

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

THE EXISTING CHAMBER of Commerce/ Tourism office building on Rhine Street (right) could become a new tourism center and public restroom facility (above)under a plan being considered by village officials.is not legal, according to Bray,because its slope is too steepand it does not have a non-slipsurface.While that might not be aproblem if it was strictly a private building, City Administrator/ Clerk/Treasurer JessicaReilly noted that it also housesthe Tourism Commission,which is a village committee.That makes the building apublic facility which must meetaccessibility requirements.The plan Bray presentedwould place two bathrooms onArno Way just west of the existing chamber building. Theywould be connected to thechamber building with a lobbyarea that would include an enclosed ramp to the chamber offices as well as an enlarged display case facing Rhine Street.“This would take the building up to where they’re fullyhandicapped-accessible andfully compliant,” Bray said.The lobby area could includeinformation displays and kiosks, he added.It would be advantageous forthe chamber/tourism officials aswell, Bray said. “People couldcome in looking for informationand not have to sit on the staff’sdesks,” he explained, alludingto tight quarters in the currentchamber building.It would make for a structurethat would double as a morevisible tourist information center and a public bathroom, Braysaid.Trustee Terri Knowles pointed out that the proposed location is not too close to the existing Pledge Allegiance statue onArno Way, which was a concernraised earlier.Bray conceded that buildingthe new structure would requireremoving some existing trees.He added that the village will be THE EXISTING CHAMBER of Commerce/ Tourism office building on Rhine Street (right) could become a new tourism center and public restroom facility (above)under a plan being considered by village officials.
is not legal, according to Bray,because its slope is too steepand it does not have a non-slipsurface.While that might not be aproblem if it was strictly a private building, City Administrator/ Clerk/Treasurer JessicaReilly noted that it also housesthe Tourism Commission,which is a village committee.That makes the building apublic facility which must meetaccessibility requirements.The plan Bray presentedwould place two bathrooms onArno Way just west of the existing chamber building. Theywould be connected to thechamber building with a lobbyarea that would include an enclosed ramp to the chamber offices as well as an enlarged display case facing Rhine Street.“This would take the building up to where they’re fullyhandicapped-accessible andfully compliant,” Bray said.The lobby area could includeinformation displays and kiosks, he added.It would be advantageous forthe chamber/tourism officials aswell, Bray said. “People couldcome in looking for informationand not have to sit on the staff’sdesks,” he explained, alludingto tight quarters in the currentchamber building.It would make for a structurethat would double as a morevisible tourist information center and a public bathroom, Braysaid.Trustee Terri Knowles pointed out that the proposed location is not too close to the existing Pledge Allegiance statue onArno Way, which was a concernraised earlier.Bray conceded that buildingthe new structure would requireremoving some existing trees.He added that the village will be
ELKHART LAKE – A new public bathroom downtown could also include an upgraded visitors center and office for the Chamber of Commerce/Tourism Commission.

Trustee Geoffrey Bray presented that plan to the Village Board’s Municipal Planning and Development Committee Monday.

In addition to providing public restrooms for downtown visitors and events, the plan could address some issues with the existing chamber office building on Rhine Street, Bray noted.

“The chamber building is not handicapped accessible,” Bray pointed out. While it does have a wheelchair ramp, that ramp looking at removing ash trees in the park soon to combat the Emerald Ash borer threat. That will include planting new trees in the park to replace them, and any trees removed for the new building could be part of that effort, he said.

“It’s impressive,” Trustee John Schott said of the plan Bray presented.

Bray said the new structure would probably cost between $100 and $150 per square foot to construct. He estimated the new structure would be somewhere around 1,000 square feet.

Committee members were receptive to the proposal and directed Bray to continue with the plans.

The Village Board, at their meeting, tabled a recommendation from the Administration and Finance Committee to pursue converting street lights on Rhine Street downtown with LED bulbs.

Reilly noted that the expense would fall under the tax incremental finance district and said the village will seek a quote from Wisconsin Electric on the cost of the conversion.

Trustees said they would take final action after Reilly obtains cost figures.

The board went with the lowest bid for a new pickup truck for the Public Works Department, approving a Dodge Ram from Sheboygan Chrysler. The purchase is in the 2018 budget, Reilly said.

Village President Alan Rudnick reported that the Fire Department expects to take possession of their new ladder truck on or before June 1.

The truck, being purchased used from the Bryn Mawr Fire Co. in Pennsylvania, still has to be repainted and prepared for the department, he said.


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