RIPON – Renee and Danny Toledo are disgusted with conditions of the restrooms at some of the city parks.
So much so that they aired their grievances during the public discussion segment at Tuesday’s Ripon City Council meeting.
“There’s so much work that needs to be done,” said Renee Toledo, who listed the facilities at the Community Center and the Curt Pernice Skate Park as the two worst parks out of the 10 around town visited.
She pointed to the women’s restroom at the Community Center, which is also home to some of the youth baseball teams.
“There are no doors on the stalls for privacy, no toilet seats, no soap, and no paper towels,” Renee Toledo said. “There are also problems with black widows.”
Her husband, Danny, had photos of the conditions of the restroom. Included were feces on the floor and toilets stuffed with trash.
Councilman Dean Uecker was familiar with the complaint.
“The restrooms (at the Community Center) are a pig sty,” he said.
Ted Johnston, who is director of public works, noted that the same facilities have an assortment of problems including water damage in the men’s side.
“Those restrooms are old,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s best to tear them down and start all over.”
The other challenge, Johnston added, was making those restrooms handicapped accessible.
The Toledos, meanwhile, have five children who are involved in the various the sports programs in Ripon. Over the years, Renee and Danny have become too familiar with the various restroom facilities at many of the parks.
“We have plenty of friends who are willing to help out in cleaning up,” said Danny Toledo.
Added Johnston: “The city often works with volunteer groups.”
As an example, he pointed out to the efforts of Vince and Stephanie Hobbs, who started a grass-root effort to update the Stouffer Field years ago. They not only raised funds – the Hobbs have been thankful of the support from Ripon Unified, area businesses, community members and the city – but work on the stadium at Ripon High recently broke ground.
As for the messy conditions of the restrooms, Councilman Chuck Winn blamed the city’s limited resources due to budget cuts.
“We’re really short staffed right now,” he said.
State law prohibits elected leaders from taking action on any item not on the agenda. Winn, however, requested that the matter be placed as an agenda item for the next council meeting.
Renee Toledo was OK with that.
“We’re hoping to see it get started,” she said. “But it’s not going to happen overnight."