SARASOTA – Tourists and Suncoast residents alike know when it comes to St. Armands Circle, you won’t run into a public restroom. But you won’t have to ‘hold it’ for long.
Executive Director of the St. Armands Circle Association, Diana Corrigan, says she gets roughly 40-50 calls and e-mails each year asking for public restrooms.
“Oh my gosh, we’ve been working on this for 20 years, and its not as easy as it sounds,” Corrigan says, “because we’re not like a mall. There are 68 landowners.”
She and Daiquiri Deck Co-Owner Matt Grover say the two biggest issues on the Circle are parking and restrooms.
“I think it’s an exciting time because both are being addressed by the City of Sarasota,” Grover, who is also president of the St. Armands Merchant Association, said.
A public parking garage is in the works and inside that garage will be two unisex bathrooms.
“And we are going to have two stand-alone bathrooms that will be built on the circle,” Corrigan said.
Grover says he never turns people away when they ask to use the restroom, which happens often.
“The restaurants out on St. Armands Circle take the brunt of the expense of public restrooms because people use what they need to or can,” Grover said.
But he says the addition will take a lot of pressure off retailers, whose bathrooms are less accessible.
“It makes the area a lot more convenient for the average customer, especially people who are mobility challenged or have small children,” Grover said.
It’s a huge victory for Corrigan, who has been pushing this for years.
“Well I guess when I leave my legacy is gonna be, ‘We finally got public restrooms,'” Corrigan said. “I never dreamed that would be my legacy, but it is.”
“Even though St. Armands Circle is sort of the diamond of Sarasota in terms of shopping, convenience is also very important,” Grover said. “I think it’s going a long way to satisfy a lot of the concerns that are out there.”
This project comes after permission from the city commission. By January 2019, there will be a total of six public restrooms on the circle.