You went to Birch Meadow for a sports game or practice, to play or to watch. You drank a sports drink or water. Now nature calls. Where to go?
Relief should arrive in a few weeks. Town Recreation Administrator John Feudo has proposed to place two porta-potties on the grassy area across the parking lot from the RMHS field house, at the farthest end from the high school.
The selectmen voted 4-0 in favor of the proposal Tuesday, subject to an OK from Superintendent Dr. John Doherty.
Doherty gave the project a green light, Feudo told Patch Thursday.
People at the Birch Meadow fields and courts can use the restrooms in the RMHS field house if that facility is open, Feudo noted Thursday. But it’s usually not open on weekends, he said, unless an event is taking place inside.
Birch Meadow can draw, at peak, between 600 and 700 people, Feudo told the selectmen.
The cost of the new facilities, from April 1 through Oct. 31: $2,800, Feudo told the selectmen.
Several organizations have agreed to help defray the cost, he said: Reading Youth Softball, Friends of Reading Tennis, Reading Babe Ruth, Reading Men’s Softball League and Reading United Soccer. Reading Youth Lacrosse is “on board,” too, Feudo said. Their pledges range from $200 to $1,000; they cover the whole cost, he said.
Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner considered several criteria when he and Feudo looked for an appropriate porta-pot spot, Hechenbleikner told the selectmen, where they would not impact homes and be adjacent to a path to make user access easier. They will also be under some surveillance there, he noted.
The two facilities will be held upright to prevent tipping, Feudo said.
This is a good short-term solution to the call of nature issue, according to Selectman James Bonazoli.
Long-term, the town needs a concession stand at Birch Meadow, he said.
That’s in the town’s capital plan for 2014, Hechenbleikner said. Even with a food pavilion, separate restrooms might be needed, the town manager said.
The facilities proposed now cost about $49 a month for the regular unit and $125 a month for the larger, handicapped-accessible unit, according to Feudo.
They’d be cleaned once a week, he said, to start, at $20 per unit per week.
Before the new facilities can open, Feudo told Patch he must get a permit from the Board of Health. That board “will tell us,” he said, “how they want (those facilities) cleaned.”