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May 23, 2019

4/3/2019 6:13:00 PM
Open Pioneer Park bathrooms possible

By Jon Oesting
A park visitor
Your Pioneer Park in La Conner on the hill overlooking the canal is beautiful. I live in Bellingham and I like to drive down and sit and read on the bluff above the water and enjoy the park and its trees.
But then the call of nature disputes my reading and I walk to the bathrooms. I find them LOCKED. Over and over. Winter and spring. Sumer and fall. Morning and afternoon. Sometimes they are open but to no discernible pattern. The sign on the tree says Park open dawn to dusk. Really? I don’t think so!
What’s so frustrating is that this little problem was solved about 30 years ago. And it saves a town like yours loads of money.
The secret words are Electric Striker Plate and Photocell Activated Power Relay. Here is how this works.
The door lock consists of the handle, the striker (that rod that retracts when you open a door) and the plate on the door frame. You buy an electric striker plate. It’s a spring loaded plate that, when the power is on, allows the door to be pulled open. You wire this plate to a power supply and put a photo cell switch on the line.
The result is a door lock that is switched on and can then be opened by the public when the photocell says its day. When it becomes night, the electric current is cut off and the door cannot be opened. A staff person with a key can service the bathrooms at any hour by using a key.
Now for the best part: It costs you the installation (any lock and safe company in the area) and then nothing but a squirt of oil twice a year. NOW, you are sending a staff person and a truck (when they remember to go) to unlock and lock it twice a day. You can spend about $300 dollars, have an open bathroom making your park inviting and friendly and available and cut literally thousands and thousands in staff and truck costs. $$$$$$!!
Now for the rest. When I sent this to the town, your town manager said their problem is people sleeping in the bathroom at night. Problem solved. You install a motion detector in the room. It switches on after the door locks.
If it senses an intruder, it phones a notice to the police who arrest the person for trespass.

Right now, the bathrooms are mostly closed and your park is therefore not inviting for guests.
You install an automatic electric lock that unlocks the door at sunrise and locks it again at sunset. No employee time to do this daily task. (You save thousands of hours of staff time). A motion detector senses intruders after hours.
Pioneer Park becomes an even better regional park where visitors and shoppers and diners can walk and rest and use the “facilities” in your glorious park. (Shoppers, Visitors, Diners. $$$ Get it!)
Jon Oesting has shared this idea with the Town’s mayor and public works director, also.

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