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Last month, the City of Jackson awarded a contract to Michigan Valley Homes of Brooklyn for the construction of a public restroom facility in the Northeast corner of Bucky Harris Park in downtown Jackson.  Above drawing from bid specifications.

Today,  JTV welcomes Brad Flory, longtime local columnist, husband and father who has a Detroit Lions tattoo and frequent attacks of confusion.  Brad will provide his unique take on the local scene whenever it may strike him.

By Brad Flory

Speaking as a man with a scandalously small bladder, it never crossed my mind to oppose the concept of public restrooms in Jackson.

But of Jackson’s more expert complainers have more imagination than I. They can voice displeasure even at porcelain facilities meant for pausing and refreshing.

In case you missed it, City Hall is spending $141,000 to build a public restroom at Bucky Harris Park. The rationale is that if Jackson wants people to gather downtown, people need a better place to address human biology than “behind that dumpster over there.”

Nothing is weird about this idea. If anything, Jackson is behind the times. Consider this six-year-old news snippet from Portland, Ore., the nation’s coolest city since our last coolest city became old-hat and until our next coolest city is discovered by people with bushy beards.

“For the residents of Portland, Ore., taking a whiz in a public toilet is not just a matter of necessity. It’s an act of civic pride,” according to the online newsletter CityLab.

To my surprise, the first person who talked to me about  Jackson’s public restroom assumed I found the idea stupid.

“With all the problems in Jackson, they decide” –  here he paused and made a facial gesture like spitting a pumpkin seed – “TO BUILD A BATHROOM?”

Almost all comments I found posted online were negative, although perhaps that was inevitable. Looking online for positive comments about anything is like searching for strawberries on a dung heap.

Complainers raise three general points: 1.) $141,000 is way too much money for a bathroom; 2.) people will inject drugs and do other bad things in a public restroom; and 3.) the “with all the problems in Jackson” argument mentioned above.

OK, yes, $141,000 sounds expensive for a bathroom. But government always spends a lot to build things. I guess they have codes or standards or something. They don’t do what I do when I wanted to fix my shed, which was work out a deal under the table with a dude I know.

And, yes, people sometimes do bad things in public restrooms. That is no reason to think we should stop having public restrooms.

Regarding that third argument, here’s a news flash: Government will never solve all our biggest problems, because it cannot solve them. But that does not mean government has no business improving life in small ways, like providing public restrooms in public spaces.

Can’t we all stop complaining about everything long enough to relax and smell the roses (so to speak)?

Jimmies Towing Jackson Mi
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