Robert Pam: Town considers portable potty offer

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Town considers portable potty offer

Your recent article (“Resident offers to install potty at library,” June 9) and editorial on the offer by Terry Johnson to fund a portable potty outside the North Amherst Library for the summer needs an update.

The proposal reflects recent developments in North Amherst. The gas station next to the library closed this past year, and the Survival Center has moved into its new building up the road, so the nearest bathrooms are gone.

The library board has no authority to accept and place a portable potty because the town of Amherst owns the North Amherst Library building. Upon hearing the offer, the library board asked the town to expedite its review and the immediate results were discussed recently.

The town will now work with the library to address the safety of an outdoor unsupervised toilet, its maintenance, hours of operation, and the liability for any damage to it. These are not easy issues, but they can’t be ignored in trying to solve the problem. There are reasons we don’t have public potties like this anywhere in town.

More important is finding a permanent solution. The town already has purchased the land next to the branch and started planning work on the longer term improvements that we all agree are needed there, including a bathroom and solving access issues. These won’t happen overnight but they will relieve these problems.

I believe there is broad support and recognition for the enormous value of the library in all three of its locations. There is no conflict between upgrading the Jones main branch for the 21st century and upgrading the other branches or meeting other needs of Amherst.

Robert Pam


The writer is a trustee of the Jones Library.