Porta potties substitute for Opening Day

Hermosa Beach public works’ Dennis Hrboka works with a backhoe Wednesday morning to remove sand that blew off the beach on to 14th Street. Photo by Ralph Doyle

by Elka Worner

After a yearlong delay, construction has resumed on a new restroom at Clark Field, but the project will not be completed, as had been anticipated, in time for the Hermosa Little League opening day on Saturday.

“Our players, their families and friends have been anxiously awaiting the completion of the bathroom at Clark Field,” Hermosa Beach Little League President Mark Mamber said this week.

“We’ve been told they’ll be completed in April, which would be incredibly exciting.”

Until then, the 450 Little League players and their families will use portable bathrooms.

The restroom renovation at Clark Field is part of a $2.4 million City Park Restrooms and Renovation Project, awarded in July 2021. The project also includes new restrooms at Fort Lots-Of-Fun, at 1102 Sixth Street; Sea View Parkette, at 1879 Prospect Ave.; and South Park, where a solar powered bathroom is slated for construction.

The project was scheduled to be completed in Spring of 2022, but was halted in September of 2022 following a dispute with the contractor.

“The original contractor failed to make adequate progress on the project and was terminated as a result,” City Manager Suja Lowenthal said at the Jan. 10, 2023 city council meeting.

City officials declined to talk about the project because the city is facing “significant exposure to civil litigation,” according to the City’s Public Information Officer Laura Mecoy.

“Significant exposure to civil litigation means that there exists facts and circumstances where the City may face a lawsuit. This does not mean that any potential lawsuit is meritorious or that there is a significant risk that the City will not prevail in any possible lawsuit,” according to a city report.

In early February, the city found a new contractor to finish the bathrooms.

“The new contractor began work at the Clark Field restroom on February 22 and will be commencing work at other restroom locations in the coming weeks,” according to the city website.

“The City will be prioritizing the completion of the restroom at Clark Field because it is where Little League plays and has a higher level of use,” Mecoy wrote in an email to Easy Reader.

When asked if there is a completion date for all the restroom projects, she responded, “Not at this time.”

Residents have expressed frustration over the delays.

One South Bay resident, whose kids play at South Park, said, “A non-flushing bathroom with young children is a concern for bacteria.”

“Residents and guests who visit the park are now forced to use the outhouses that often have soiled personal belongings left behind (I found underwear twice this week),” Chanel Blin wrote in an Easy Reader letter to the editor.

“I arrived to drop off my child who needed to use the restroom before a gathering and found someone sleeping in one,” she wrote. “It’s irresponsible of the city to not finish the job.”

“Outhouses for nearly 1.5 years at one of Hermosa’s beautiful parks is absurd.”

Hermosa Beach Mayor Ray Jackson said he understands the frustrations. 

“Work is happening. Stuff is getting done,” Jackson said. “We’re confident we have the right contractor to complete the job.” ER


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