Number of outdoor toilets Downtown have been reduced from nine to six

2022-06-15 11:34:00 By : Mr. Peter Liu

While the portable outdoor toilets in downtown Columbus are staying thanks to an infusion of city money, there are now fewer of them than in 2021.

The Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District has removed three of the nine toilets, leaving them at the following locations:

• Broad and High streets (east side of High between Broad and State streets near the Statehouse)

• 33 N. High St. (just south of the Central Ohio Transit Authority's headquarters and north of One Columbus)

• 98 N. High St. (just south of Atrium Lofts)

• 16 W. Long St. (by Southeast Healthcare)

• 61 E. Mound St. (by St. John’s Church)

• Topiary Park (near the Columbus Metropolitan Library system's Main Library)

The special improvement district removed three portable toilets from the following locations:

• 125 E. Broad St. (Trinity Episcopal Church)

• 33 N. High St. (William J. Lhota Building, originally two outside there, now one.)

• 61 E. Mound St. (Originally two there, now one.  The Open Shelter recently moved from this location, reducing the demand for restrooms.)

Lisa Defendiefer, deputy director of operations and advocacy for the Capital Crossroads and Discovery special improvement districts, said the one at Trinity Episcopal Church was placed there when it was a warming center for homeless people in the winter of 2020-2021. But it's not a warming center this year, she said, and fewer had been using it.

A woman who is homeless and often sits in front of the church used that restroom and has complained about that one being removed. Defendiefer acknowledged. 

"I will say there was a lot of thought as to what would be the most logical and highest-need locations," Defendiefer said.

"We didn’t feel that nine were necessary at this point. Six would provide the amenities for a good number of people," she said.

No one asked the district to remove toilets, she said.

The city is providing another $51,000 to maintain the toilets for another year.

"We thought they all would be pulled," Defendiefer said.

Keith McCormish, director of the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, said he hasn't heard any concerns from people on he street, and said he has no concerns himself with fewer toilets.

He said people can go to the warming center at the Broad Street United Methodist Church, 501 E. Broad St., to use the bathroom, as well as shower and do laundry. He said the warming center saw 2,000 visits in December.