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Nicolet, unable to afford bathroom user fee, asks Fox Point for a potty pass

Nov. 14, 2012

Fox Point - A school's request to use restroom facilities resulted in a discussion about intergovernmental arrangements by the Fox Point Village Board.

Representatives from Nicolet High School's athletic department came before the Village Board on Tuesday, asking for a waiver to use restrooms at the Longacre Pavilion, 7343 N. Longacre Road, from mid-May to mid-June.

Nicolet's baseball teams use the baseball diamond at nearby Stormonth Elementary School and, in recent years, have sought permission from the village to use the Longacre Pavilion restrooms for team members and spectators during games.

The board in 2009 made the decision to begin charging for restroom usage - an effort, at the time, to offset costs associated with replacing consumable products, cleaning equipment and removing debris.

A year ago, the board denied Nicolet's request to waive the costs associated with restroom usage, but did give the high school a discounted rate that equated to $1,200 for the season.

Kirk Krychowiak, Nicolet's director of athletics and recreation, said the expense has left a department driven by volunteerism and donor dollars in a pinch.

"The (Nicolet) school district simply cannot afford to continue to pay for the use of the bathrooms," Krychowiak said. "We paid the fee last year to be cooperative and because we didn't have any other options available to us."

School Board member Mort Grodsky said he believed the fee should be waived since Nicolet essentially is a community resource that serves Fox Point residents. Grodsky pointed out Nicolet does not charge a rental fee to any North Shore schools or municipalities that use the high school facilities.

"We just ask that you give us the courtesy that we've given other communities and school districts," Grodsky said.

While the board agreed Nicolet and its athletic department serve a valued service, the question of cost continued to bubble to the surface during Tuesday's discussion.

To date, village clerk Tanya O'Malley said there is a shortfall of about $9,000 for expenses related to the upkeep of Longacre Pavilion. She said the figure takes into account staff time devoted to maintaining the facility, but it does not include the cost of restocking consumable products.

"I'm trying to figure out who would pay for this," Trustee Christine Symchych said. "It's not free. The program is a benefit to us, but if we don't charge something, it affects all of us as taxpayers."

Several residents attended the board meeting in support of Nicolet's athletic department and its continued presence at the Stormonth baseball diamond.

"We do like to see the community support our children," resident Scott Kravetz said. "Extracurricular activities enrich our children's lives."

The board did not take any action on Nicolet's request, opting instead to obtain a written opinion from Village Attorney Eric Larson on the village's existing ordinance on usage of Longacre Pavilion.

"This is about trying to find the right balance between two jurisdictions," Village President Mike West said. "I think this is a big enough deal that we should get an opinion from our attorney."

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