No bathrooms on The Battery leaves little room to handle business

No bathrooms on The Battery leaves little room to handle business


Charleston tourism season is picking up, and some residents south of Broad St. say they've got a big problem in their area. Neighbors around the White Point Gardens say that with no public restroom nearby, crowds visiting the historic area are taking matters into their own hands.

"It's a beautiful park, but there's few restroom around here," Martin Huffstutler, enjoys visiting The Battery.

President of the Fort Sumter House Association, Glenn DeBiasi, says it's causing headaches for him and his fellow neighbors. So much so, that they've started signing a petition to get the city's attention.

"This is a big tourist area, tourists come down here not understanding that there are no bathrooms," said DeBiasi.

DeBiasi says while the Fort Sumter House has put up signs letting area visitors know there are no restroom available to the general public, it's not stopping them from trying.

"People are constantly banging on the door, in desperation, saying please can I used your restroom," said DeBiasi.

When all else fails, DeBiasi says he sees some resorting to urinating outside, in the gardens and the parking lots.

"It's unhealthy, it's unsanitary, it's illegal and it certainly gives a bad image of our city that we can't even provide restrooms for tourists," said DeBiasi.

Charleston Police say they haven't received any reports for public urination in that area, but there could be a reason for that.

"It's not the right solution," said DeBiasi. "People have said 'well why don't you call the cops?'...We'd have to have a cop down here all the time!"

DeBiasi says his community doesn't want to punish the tourists, they just want the necessary amenities installed.

"We bill ourselves as a world class tourist destination and it certainly leaves people with a very bad impression," said DeBiasi.

"There's a lot of people here and definitely a need for a restroom around here," said Huffstutler.

"I think people would definitely use them more, I know I would," said Carson Miesfeldt, Charleston resident.

Director of Planning for the City of Charleston, Tim Keane, says this has been a problem for years and funding is not the hold up. Keane says city officials are in full support of bringing restroom to the battery, if only they can find a place to put them.

Keane says years ago, there was a restroom at the main gazebo in park, but most felt it was in poor taste to have the centerpiece of the historic spot be a restroom. Now,  they're looking at locations on the outskirts of the gardens and neighborhood.

"The only thing they would have to do is how to make it publicly aesthetic and make it pleasing to see and not take away from the park itself," said Miesfeldt.

Keane says city officials will be deciding in the next few months where to place bathrooms. they're even considering creating a special committee  to help solve this problem. However, in the meantime, visitors better prepare ahead of time.

"You better use the bathroom before you go," said Huffstutler.

Also, Charleston Police say they do want to be contacted if anyone is seen urinating in the area.

Copyright WCSC 2014. All rights reserved.