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Article updated: 5/23/2013 8:13 PM

Naperville mayor tears toilet paper to open new restrooms

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It's not often Naperville officials hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new washroom. But when they do, it's a 3-ply affair.

Mayor George Pradel and several city and park district leaders attended a "potty party" Thursday in Central Park to celebrate the opening of a new public restroom on the west side of the downtown site.


The park regularly plays host to concerts by the Naperville Municipal Band and other events.

"It has been a long time coming to provide families and concert attendees a permanent washroom at Central Park," Pradel said. "After all, it is my sworn 'doodie' to provide the public with some relief."

For many years, residents attending Thursday night municipal band concerts at the park's Community Concert Center have requested a permanent washroom facility, rather than the single portable facility for each gender located in the far back of the park.

New seating and lighting were added at the park in 2011, but it wasn't until early March when the city council approved construction of the washrooms at a cost of $247,850.

The small concrete structure, which accommodates three people in both the men's and women's sections of the building, is just south of the Kroehler YMCA and features LED lighting, in-floor heating and an outdoor drinking fountain that also accommodates Fido.

The restroom will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

After tearing the ceremonial Charmin with Keller and park board President Kirsten Young, Pradel headed in for the ceremonial first flush.

Leaning over the toilet, with photographers snapping away, Pradel lunged down quickly.

"Ah, there goes my tie!" he yelled.

He told those gathered for the ceremony he expects the washrooms to be a "flushing success."

Band Director Ron Keller said he hopes the restrooms will allow more folks to enjoy the concerts rather than crossing their legs all night or leaving early when Mother Nature calls. Keller said he's been waiting for such improvements at the park for at least 10 years.

"We get great crowds in the park every Thursday night. Now they get a chance to use (the restroom) more than one at a time and not see a line all the way across the back of the park," Keller said. "The band is going to play two special numbers at the June 6 concert. We're going to play 'Happy Days Are Here Again' and then we have a march called the 'Crimson Flush.' I can't think of two better songs to start our season off."

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