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Lathrop dog park may get restroom
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It’s now just a matter of style and whether they feel like spending the money.

After the Lathrop City Council directed city staff to look at options for restrooms near the city’s dog park that were low cost and low maintenance, three options are now on the table ranging from $60,500 to $71,500. All three are self-contained and the project would be for a unisex bathroom that would serve those visiting the dog park and the covered patio at River Park South – a recreation area just below the popular and widely used Mossdale Landing Community Park. All three of the design proposals include a 10 percent contingency and the construction costs would also require sidewalks and amenities to tie the project in with the existing dog park.

 A budget amendment is required for approval since the cost will be funded from the city’s general fund reserves – an account that has swelled to just over $9 million recently thanks to continuing tight budget practices that were enacted when the city was facing massive shortfalls when the housing economy collapsed. And not every community has had the best run of luck when it comes to bathrooms in city parks.

The City of Manteca spent $125,000 almost a decade ago to install a permanent bathroom facility at Library Park that hooked up to the city’s sewer system, but the facility has been periodically closed because of vandalism and was just recently locked after homeless problems in the area prompted a heavy-handed police response. Reports of rampant drug use in the bathrooms were plentiful, and needles were discovered by those tasked with maintaining them.

The decision could be the last made by the current makeup of this Lathrop City Council. On Tuesday voters will decide whether Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal will receive a second term – he’s running against community advocate Rosalinda Valencia – and incumbents Omar Ornelas and Paul Akinjo are facing wide opposition from a field that represents an equally wide cross-section of the community.