The new brick bathrooms at the year-old Elmhurst Park in Queens have three stalls in the women's room and two urinals and a stall in the men's room.
Everyone here seems to like them for this six-acre space, until you mention the cost: $2.3 million.
The head of the Juniper Park Civic Association, which spearheaded the campaign to turn the old Elmhurst gas tanks site into a park, is questioning the price tag, especially given it has no small-size facilities specifically for kids.
"I don't know if in these times we should be spending $2.2, $2.3 million on a structure like this when we don't have enough money for teachers, cops, firemen," Bob Holden said.
In a statement, a Parks Department spokesperson said crews needed to use more durable materials because public buildings have more intense use. The department said the cost of things like a thicker metal door and all-steel piping are recouped over the lifetime of the space.
" The industrial history of the site required contractors that were familiar with the testing and monitoring requirements that were put in place to guarantee a safe construction process and final product," a Parks Department spokesman said in the statement. "No contaminates were found. We can only say this because we put the appropriate monitoring plan in place and paid for independent professionals to implement them."
The department said this cost per square foot is similar to other, new comfort stations and that the builder was the second lowest of 14 bids.
But civic leader Tony Nunziato said he talked with contractors who would have built for a quarter of the price.
"You could build this facility for half a million dollars that would have more bathrooms," said Anthony Nunziato of the Maspeth-Middle Village Task Force. "So they definitely overspent. If they want a unique building, it's definitely a unique building."
And a building many here are happy to finally have.