The location of the downtown Sylva restrooms was probably somehow decided – the location of the old train depot between Mill Street and Railroad Avenue.
The city council still had a ‘toilet discussion’ on the agenda for last Thursday’s meeting, centered on a backup location in case the depot fails.
Blue Ridge Southern Railroad owns the depot site and Public Works Manager Jake Scott is in discussions with the company about ownership, City Manager Paige Dowling told the board.
“They are not willing to sell the property, but are working on the terms of a long-term lease,” she said. “I think the city council needs to have a plan B for the location of the toilets, though. I hope all goes well, but in the event that there are work issues on site, cost issues, or if we are unable to reach an agreement on the lease, I believe that if the staff could have direction from the board on a plan B, we could keep that moving in the meantime.
Before further discussion of Plan B could ensue, board member Mary Gelbaugh, one of three board members who voted for the repository site, proposed two more suggestions for a location.
“I’ve spoken to two downtown property owners on Mill Street who are willing to have conversations with us about repurposing their buildings,” she said. “I haven’t been out and physically walked it, but I would say they are both within 50 yards of our discussed sites.”
One is next to the Mill Street gate of Black Balsam Outdoors.
“The second option is located next to Melissa’s Takeout,” she said. “Unfortunately, we lost one of our small businesses this week, Eric’s Fish Market. This owner is also willing to talk about the location of the toilets. I would like to ask that we consider one of them as a plan B.”
City board member David Nestler pooped the idea of picking a back-up site at the time
“I would say the best way is to put all of our efforts behind this railroad,” he said. “Reading between the lines, I think part of the concern for people who want that railroad spot is that we approve a second spot and then without board approval, that location may change due to an issue.”
Dropping the repository location should be a board decision, Nestler said.
“If a problem arises with the lease or some other issue, it should always be a decision of the board to not pursue this further,” he said. “In that case, we have this discussion then. I think we take every issue that comes up (with the drop site) and try to fix it. »
Dowling warned of possible construction delays if the depot didn’t work and staff had to wait at the board to meet again and vote on it.
“It’s just a discussion tonight,” said Mayor Lynda Sossamon, a long-time supporter of a Spring Street plan. “I take it we’re not going to pick another place for the toilet until we know more about this place we don’t own and will have to rent.”
Council met in camera to discuss the lease. No action was taken by council upon its return from a closed session.