HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) — The Holyoke City Council could soon decide whether or not restrict bathroom access at City Hall.
The Public Safety Committee voted to recommend that keys be required to use the restrooms after a host of problems including residents using the restrooms for sex and drugs.
It’s a messy problem. The restrooms in Holyoke’s City Hall are being used for things other than what was intended: people are bathing in the them, shooting up drugs and even having sex in the stalls.
“They were doing everything. As far as the sex acts in there, I couldn’t tell. I can tell you I personally called police on two people that had an overdose on drugs where the needles were still laying besides them,” says David Martins, Holyoke’s procurement manager.
The troubles ramped up with the increased traffic from City Hall being open longer hours after the library temporarily moved in, but the old policy of requiring residents to ask for a key was causing problems at the purchasing department where those keys were distributed
“At one point, I said enough is enough. I got to have my staff do the government work that they are paid for so we opened up the bathroom,” Martins adds.
Then that opened up a host of problems
“I don’t want to see any needles in the bathroom. and I don’t think they are diabetics.”
Now, the City Council will have to decide the course of action.
Martins says one option might be to restrict bathroom access to employees only. “The only good solution is to lock them down and only give the key to city employees. Now is that the right answer is someone constitutionally going to come back and say that’s my house, I pay my taxes, so you’re in a catch 22,” he notes.
The library is expected to vacate City Hall by summer and that could bring some relief to the problem
“Common sense tells you that when the library moves out, you have less of a traffic and when you have less traffic, you have less of a problem, so I would suggest to everybody, right now, is let’s settle down a little bit, wait six months, then see what happens.”
The City Council is expected to hear debates on the issue at their next full council meeting.