Knoxville officials push for public restrooms near Market Square

Knoxville officials push for public restrooms near Market Square

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City officials are asking for $250,000 to build a public restroom in Market Square. City officials are asking for $250,000 to build a public restroom in Market Square.
By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter


KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Market Square attracts thousands of people every day, which has some pushing for a public restroom to be built nearby.

City officials are asking for $250,000 to build a facility. It's currently being discussed in the mayor's proposed budget.

Market Square was filled with kids playing in the water Wednesday evening, but mom Emily Hall says there's no public restroom nearby to dry them off.

"We find a business that's open and lets us in," Hall said.

A business like the Tomato Head, where employee Paul Arena says they get lots of people coming in just to use the restroom.

"It gets hazardous especially when we have customers waiting in line, and then we just have random people who make the line a little longer," Arena said.

Both say public restrooms are needed, especially in the busy summer months. It's been a growing concern for several years, says Rick Emmett, Knoxville's downtown coordinator.

"You've got hundreds of people down there. So they're having to go in the restaurants and stores and wherever they can go frankly, and it's just not a good situation," Emmett said.

He says if the city approves the request, then they will work out the details like finding an exact location, size and who will be responsible for the upkeep.

Not everyone supports building the restrooms. Veronica Reid says she's worried about security and cleanliness issues.

"They're dirty. They don't clean them like they should, that's why I don't use public restrooms and I won't let my kids do it," Reid says.

There used to be public restrooms on Market Square, but they were torn down during the expansion project a few years ago. If approved, officials hope to have the restrooms built by next year.
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