Ouellette urges Aldermen to deal with public bathroom issue

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MANCHESTER, NH – After more than three years of badgering the city to open public bathrooms at the downtown Visitor’s Center – even filing a lawsuit against the city citing human rights violations – Glenn Ouellette led a group of demonstrators from the visitor’s center at Veterans Park Tuesday night, to the board of Mayor and Aldermen in City Hall to speak out about the status of the city’s downtown bathrooms.

For Ouellette, the fight over the city’s bathrooms began in 2014 when they were closed per that years budget. Since then, a notice has been painted onto the doors of the visitor center, advising the public that the restrooms would only be open during special events.

The city has offered to hire a bathroom monitor as a condition to reopening the facilities. They say they job would require a salary of over $100K per year.

But Ouellette says those numbers are fudged. He points to the city-employed attendant working at Livingston park in the North End who, in addition to bathroom duties, picks up trash helps to maintain the park’s facilities as a whole. That employee is paid just $52,000 a year.

Tuesday’s protest was attended by just six people initially, but were joined by a few more after reaching the chambers at city hall. Ouellette even picked up some supporters along the way.

One resident of the city who joined the protest at the park told Alderman that, as a homeless woman herself, downtown bathrooms open to the public were a necessity for the city’s homeless population.

“My homeless family needs a place where we can do human functions,” she said in front of the Aldermen, some visibly surprised by her candor. “Please open the public restrooms,” she pleaded, ” I will keep them clean … at no charge.”

More to come.