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Why are the beach restrooms closed?

Mark Brooky • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:50 PM
mbrooky@grandhaventribune.com 616-842-6400 ext. 243

“My family and I are up here on vacation from Florida. We are spending thousands of dollars in your city and can't even go to the bathroom while at the beach,” the visitor wrote to the Tribune on Sunday. “Apparently, the pavilion restrooms are out of order, so there are port-a-johns set up. Well, the port-a-johns are near over-flowing. This is absolutely unacceptable! Why are they not emptied every day? While I was at the port-a-johns, there was an 88-year-old handicapped woman that needed to use the restroom and couldn't because of the condition of the port-a-johns. She and her daughter said that ‘this will be the last time we come to this beach! Next year, we will spend our time and money in Saugatuck!’ My family will also find another place in Michigan where we spend our time and money. There is no excuse for this.”

ANSWER:

Keep in mind that the state park beach is owned and operated by the state’s Department of Natural Resources, and not the City of Grand Haven. Therefore, Roland Johnson of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division provided our answer.

While a sewer break is never a good time, Johnson said July is a most unfortunate time for it to happen at the popular beach.

“Please know that a sewer line break forced staff to close the beach bathrooms,” Johnson said. “While staff has been trying to get additional portable toilets, and find and repair the sewer line, there has been tremendous use of the nine portable toilets. The toilet contractors will be pumping the nine existing toilets and nine additional toilets twice a day until this emergency is resolved.

“Staff are working tirelessly to restore the modern bathrooms and are grateful for visitors’ patience,” he continued. “We regret that this sewer line chose the two warmest weekends we have had yet this summer to fail.”

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