Park's popularity poses problems | January 25, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - January 25, 2008

Park's popularity poses problems

Messy restrooms worry Livorna Park patrons

by Natalie O'Neill

More people are using Livorna Park, thanks to a sprucing up the recreation grounds received in June. But as the area becomes a bustling family hotspot, the restrooms need more attention, park users say.

County Public Works met with custodial crews recently to discuss comments about disheveled restrooms at the park.

"We're addressing the situation. We've had complaints about our bathrooms not being terribly clean," said County Senior Planner Hillary Heard.

She noted that contracted janitors clean bathrooms in the park twice a day on weekdays.

"We try to keep an eye on the park. We keep in close contact with the (custodial) contractors," she said.

Alamo Parks and Recreation Committee Chairwoman Marie-Jeanne Parsons said she suspects the restroom messes likely have more to do with people not cleaning up after themselves than neglect on the part of the county.

"It bothers me when I go to a place that should normally be nice. It's up to everybody to keep things the way they would want to find it," she said.

She added she's pleased with how often contractors clean the park.

Park users Monday said the bathroom had a strong stench and strands of toilet paper strewn on the floor - but that it didn't stop them from going to the recreation grounds. The restroom conditions on that day were worse than usual because it was a holiday that followed the weekend, Parsons said.

"It's not germy filth, it's just disarray," said one park user, a Sears employee who stopped to use the restroom Monday afternoon.

He explained his job requires him to travel from city to city and that he usually stops at parks and gas stations for bathroom breaks along the way.

"This one's a little rougher than most places," he said, in comparison to other East Bay cities.

He asked that his name not be used since he was on the job while commenting.

Sanitation standards for parks are generally lower than indoor facilities, Heard said.

"We don't have any specific standards. It's on a park-by-park basis," Heard said.

Parsons said, as far as improvements, there should be soap at the sink, which is stainless steel and located outside, between the two restrooms.

Large groups of kids congregate at Livorna Park - often for birthday parties. And it's up to parents to help their kids clean up after themselves, Parsons said.

In June, Public Works completed improvements to the park including a new barbeque area, and added playground features like turf sand pit areas and landscaping.

The most recent Alamo Parks and Recreation budget reports show it spent just under $10,000 on park improvements from 2005-2007.

"Since we've made the park really snazzy, we've got what we asked for - it's really busy," Heard said.

Taking this into account, Parsons urges park users to be aware of the mark they leave on the park.

"It's a question of respect. They are only as clean as people leave them," she said.