City responds to business owner's complaint, placing portable restrooms at downtown parade

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − A downtown business owner who voiced his frustration last month with the city's failure to provide parade-goers with public restrooms says he was happy to see that portable facilities were placed in the district during last week's San Juan County Fair Parade.

"Yes, I was pleased," John Silva, who owns and operates the Three Rivers Eatery & Brewhouse, the Three Rivers Pizzeria, the Brewstillery Lounge and the Three Rivers Taproom in the same block of Main Street, said of the city's move to set up portable restrooms downtown during the parade, which took place during the evening of Aug. 5.

Silva had sent a letter to Mayor Nate Duckett on July 21 in the aftermath of the annual Connie Mack World Series Parade complaining about parade goers urinating and defecating in the alleys behind downtown businesses because there were no public restrooms available for them to use.

Silva said he had complained about the issue repeatedly in the past, but the city had never addressed his concerns. He said his employees often have had to clean up human waste behind his businesses after downtown public events.

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City Manager Rob Mayes responded to Silva's letter and a Daily Times inquiry into the situation by saying he thought the idea of placing portable restrooms in the district during parades was a reasonable suggestion and he was taking it into consideration.

Silva credited Shana Reeves, the director of the city's parks, recreation and cultural affairs department, with taking action on the issue and said he appreciated the effort she went to to address his concerns. Silva noted that there were even portable restrooms available for people with disabilities during the Aug. 5 parade.

In a statement to The Daily Times issued Aug. 9, Mayes said he thought Silva's suggestion was a good one.

"We implemented it and will continue to do so going forward," he said.

Mayes did not respond to questions from The Daily Times about how many portable restrooms were placed in the district and where they were located. He also did not indicate if the city's policy will be to deploy them during other large public events in the future that typically require street closures in the district, such as festivals and fundraisers.

"Our intention is to have them at all parades indefinitely, pending ongoing review of actual utilization, new resources that might come to bear and good judgement," city spokesperson Georgette Allen said in a statement.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.