NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The facility may look nice, but its price tag has some residents upset.
That's because it cost $2.3 million to build, money some say has been flushed down the drain.
Robert Holden and Anthony Nunziato are presidents of their neighborhood's civic associations. They fought long and hard to bring Elmhurst Park to the site, which could have been a Home Depot. Now, they say the cost of the public bathroom facility just plain stinks, CBS 2's Kristine Johnson reported Wednesday.
"If anybody out there can tell us the taxpayers, that a bathroom like this should be $2.3 million. That's obscene," said Holden, who heads up the Juniper Park Civic Association.
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"It's large, but it's not functional, and that's the key here, what's functional?" added Nunziato, president of the Middle Village Maspeth Civic Association.
Inside the men's room, there are two urinals and one stall. In the women's room, there are three stalls. Each has two sinks, one diaper changing station and two hand dryers.
"It's just a tremendous waste of space and, especially, money," Holden said. "This may be good for Donald Trump or Mayor Bloomberg, but the taxpayers of New York don't need this."
A Parks Department spokesperson said the cost of this building per square foot is similar to other, new comfort stations. Public buildings are exposed to more intense use than typical private buildings. To extend the life of the building and to reduce maintenance costs, the city uses more durable materials. These products such as thicker gauge door metal and all-steel sanitary piping that have higher up-front costs are recouped over the lifetime of the structure.
Park goers seemed split on the facility.
"The bathroom facility looks beautiful. There's a definite need for a facility in this park," area resident Kerry Donohue said. "I think it's worth having a beautiful structure that families can appreciate."
"You could put a tremendous house with this kind of money," added Mario Mazara of Middle Village.
"That's a lot of money for a bathroom. I don't know why it was so high, but we have it, it's here and I'm sure everybody will take advantage of it. So what can we do? It's already spent," Annmarie Murphy said.
Money some said was flushed down the toilet.
The Parks Department spokesperson also said the project was publicly bid. The winning bidder was the second lowest of the 14 received. In addition, the number of toilets and sinks in the restroom is the same as the city would typically have in a park this size.
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