Odessa Parks Bathrooms Closed for Children's Safety 9/24/13
CBS 7 News
September 24, 2013
Officials are locking the bathrooms of city parks in Odessa and it could be indefinite change.
Sometimes when you got to go, you got to go, but now if you're visiting an Odessa city park, using the restrooms is not an option.
To many parents it may seem like a huge inconvenience to lock the doors to bathrooms at Odessa parks but the city says, following many reports of vandalism and explicit behavior in and around the restrooms, closing the doors is in the children's best interest.
In addition to graffiti and feces on walls, the city says there has been drug use and sexual activity inside, they've even found hypodermic needles in the buildings.
"We don't want them exposed to needles, we don't want them exposed to activity that's not appropriate for them to see," says the City of Odessa Public Information Officer Andrea Goodson.
Although it is inconvenient to close them down, the city does not have enough time or resources to patrol or even to clean up the mess.
So the city is shutting the doors and taking the keys.
"We have to put some personal responsibility on the patrons of the park and the citizens of the park to patrol and take care of it as well because it's their park as much as it is the city's," says Goodson.
However, if a group or athletic association rents out parts of the park they will be given a key to use the restrooms.
The decision to close the restrooms could be revisited in the Spring however, there is a chance the city will do away with the bathrooms all together.