Hawthorne restrooms await park remodel

I was strolling through Hawthorne Park the other day and noticed the restroom was being demolished. I know the pool got demolished some time ago, but I didn't realize they would get rid of the bathrooms. What's going on?

— Jeff S., Medford

The bathrooms are long gone, Jeff. We checked the other day and were surprised to see dirt where the funky old restroom used to be. Luckily, the Since You Asked staff rarely has bathroom emergencies.

We checked in with Brian Sjothun, director of Medford Parks and Recreation. He said the bathroom removal is part of preparations for the remodel of Hawthorne Park.

New restrooms will be built as part of the remodel, he said. In the meantime, portable potties will be brought in only during special events.

Special events? We thought going to the bathroom was a special event. We suppose there are plenty of bushes in the park if you feel the call of nature, though we're sure that would violate some local law.

Medford officials are looking at a $1.7 million proposal to redesign Hawthorne Park, which has been plagued by crime and vagrancy issues over the years.

So far, the Medford Urban Renewal Agency has authorized $1 million toward the park rehabilitation. If other projects on MURA's list come in under budget, the unspent dollars will be applied to Hawthorne.

The plan includes a spray pad, basketball courts, artwork and two dog parks — for small and large dogs.

New walkways would be built throughout the park, along with new lighting and a new restroom, which should be installed next summer.

Improved irrigation equipment and many new plants would be installed, as well.

A base plan to renovate the park would cost almost $1.5 million, or $500,000 more than the MURA board previously had earmarked for the project.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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