Loo part 2: Grand Rapids DDA OKs funds for restroom site search

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Another public restroom may soon be on the way to downtown Grand Rapids.

On Wednesday, the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority approved up to $15,300 to hire a contractor to identify potential spots and start engineering work for the city’s next Portland Loo.

The first Portland Loo at the corner of S. Division Avenue and Weston Street SE cost about $400,000 to purchase and install, according to estimates by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Operations Manager Melvin Eledge. That price tag included site work to move a storm drain and tie in utilities.

The Portland Loo in Grand Rapids’ Heartside neighborhood. (June 9, 2021)

Eledge expects a second Portland Loo, which has already been budgeted by the DDA, to cost about the same amount.

Eledge said the goal with the contractor is to find a spot that best serves the downtown community that’s also a place “where we don’t have to kind of move heaven and earth to get a Loo landed there.”

“We certainly want to keep the work that has to go into a site in mind as we kind of move forward, which is why we’re asking Moore & Bruggink to help us look for locations in advance, not kind of pointing to a map and saying like, ‘Does this place work?’ And ‘Let’s put a Loo there,’” Eledge said.

The Portland Loo is a single-stall restroom that’s open to the public at all hours. Downtown Ambassadors clean the facility three times a day.

Eledge said the first Portland Loo has been “extremely well-received by the community” since its first flush last year, but added “one restroom isn’t enough to address the needs that exist in our downtown.”

On Wednesday, the DDA also approved the following items:

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