PROVINCETOWN — The final design of the East End Waterfront Park includes fewer trees but has that bathroom that people requested.
The cost to turn the existing crushed-shell parking lot at 387 Commercial St. into a park is now estimated at $2.3 million, a sum which would have to be approved at town meeting, said Recreation Director Brandon Motta.
The hefty price tag to create a sloping lawn on one-third of an acre, with a concrete path from Commercial Street to the shore of the harbor, is due to Provincetown’s remote location and the cost of materials right now, Motta said. The design looks simple, but it includes a seawall hidden by a dune, as well as lighting, bike racks, tables, fencing, plantings, and a shelter with a porch swing.
The town purchased the waterfront lot with Land Bank funds and a state grant for a total of $1.4 million. The late Elena Hall, who sold it to the town, had stipulated that the property no longer be used as a parking lot.
The town has pursued plans to create a park on the site ever since the 2019 purchase. Following more than a half dozen meetings with the public and the select board, the town’s consultants, Weston & Sampson, presented the final conceptual design to the recreation commission on Oct. 20.
The design reflects two main takeaways from public feedback. Earlier designs had too much structure, too many “hard edges,” and appeared too urban, Motta said.
And almost everyone, especially the select board, voiced strong support for public restrooms on the property. The East End is short on bathrooms, though Weston & Sampson’s consultant, Cheri Ruane, said that any business with more than three employees is required by state law to allow the public to use their restrooms.
Still, the select board did not want to burden businesses with bathroom-seeking pedestrians.
Weston & Sampson came back with a plan that included a type of public restroom that does not require a staff person to sit inside the building. This is useful not just to control costs but also to allow the restroom to be open 24 hours a day.
The proposed restroom is called a Portland Loo, and it is fashioned to be private enough to be comfortable to use. But it has bars on the bottom, rather than solid walls. The bars limit privacy “so it deters inappropriate behavior,” Motta said.
The single-stall Portland Loo costs $275,000. It is three-season and must be connected to the sewer system, according to Weston & Sampson’s presentation. It would require some staff time, Motta added, as it would need to be cleaned several times a day.
The select board and the recreation commission will discuss this design at a future meeting and then begin the process of bringing the project to town meeting voters, Motta said.