Over the years many letters to the editor have concerned the lack of public bathrooms in the South of Broad Street district.
I'd like to add one more to the pile and report an incident that happened recently in our residential building near White Point Garden.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon on the Battery. Mild temperatures, low humidity, many area gardens in full bloom ... the perfect mix to get people walking the streets and enjoying all that downtown Charleston offers.
I live in a condominium building overlooking the Battery and White Point Garden. We had been experiencing some trouble with the front door to the building closing properly and on several occasions tourists looking for a restroom had been able to gain entrance before being escorted out by our staff or a resident.
We have security cameras around the property so it was easy to go back and discover when the following incident occurred: On April 16, at 1:38 p.m., a woman entered the building a few minutes behind a guest of one of our residents who didn't check to see that the door was securely closed.
This woman is observed looking around the lobby for a couple of minutes until she disappears into a utility closet under a main stairwell. She exits the building about five minutes later. From what was discovered in that closet, this woman was in desperate need of a restroom.
Yes, we were horrified that it happened. We see similar incidents around here every day, but usually it is in our parking lots.
What is more horrifying is the fact that city officials are still just talking about public restroom facilities down here after years of knowing that there is a problem.
Those of us who live here have been told by city officials that the funding for bathrooms is there, that the problem is where to place them. Really?
We all know White Point Garden is the most logical place to put restrooms. It had restrooms before. Yet we are going to discuss this again for the next nine months as one of the issues to be addressed in the Tourism Management Forum recently established.
My prediction is that all we are going to get from this forum is another acknowledgement that we have a terrible problem.
We'll probably be shown a few nice architectural renderings of possible designs for restrooms and then be told that the city is seriously looking into several places in White Point Garden to put one of these beautiful buildings. The city will have just bought themselves another year of looking like they sincerely want to address the problem but will actually do nothing.
I hope I am proven wrong.
A quick and temporary solution: Put port a lets down here, especially on weekends.
We have tremendous empathy for every person observed using our lots as a bathroom or coming to our front door and asking to use a restroom.
Our typical response is to tell them where the nearest public facility is and when they can't believe how far they have to walk, ask that they write a letter of complaint to the mayor or the editor of the newspaper. I doubt many of them take the time to do so.
How many letters would it take to finally get something done? Charleston is one of the nation's top-ranking tourist destinations.
How could it not provide restrooms at one of our main attractions?
How much longer is the city going to ignore the basic needs of tourists who help make this city what it is?
It is shameful.