Residents: Downtown porta potty is flushing Wimberley’s charm

Wimberley city leaders say the portable restroom cost $40,000 and is meant to serve the tourists until the new sewage line is built. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)
Wimberley city leaders say the portable restroom cost $40,000 and is meant to serve the tourists until the new sewage line is built. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)

WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — Thousands of tourists visit the Wimberley area every year to experience the unique and quirky little town. But some say a new addition right in the middle of the square is putting a damper on the city’s charm.

“It looks terrible, it’s an eyesore,” said downtown business owner Tom Keyser. “We pride ourselves on being a quaint cool little community with a certain amount of funkiness, that’s not the funkiness we had in mind.”

Recently city council members agreed to place a $40,000 restroom on wheels right in the middle of town.

“Having something like this being as prominent as it is, is very upsetting to locals,” said Keyser.

All of the businesses on the square including Keyser’s Ino’z Brew and Chew have their own septic systems. After the Cypress Creek Café burned down earlier this year, so did four bathrooms that were inside, pushing visitors to surrounding shops that weren’t ready for that amount of traffic.

“I’d like to see more restrooms in the area, don’t get me wrong, but as far as it being actual usage to customers in my facility it’s not useful at all,” said Keyser. “We need it, where we need it is what’s up for debate and I don’t think that the placement there works for customers who are shopping and I certainly don’t think it works for the aesthetics for the square itself.”

“We’re forcing more into them and forcing more out of them. They aren’t getting a chance to break down and do all the biological work that they normally do,” said Wimberley Mayor Mac McCullough referring to the septic system. McCullough’s wife runs the Wimberley Café. “A lot of us just don’t have the capacity to handle the tourism and the constant use that we see.”

McCullough says the restrooms are only temporary until a sewage system is built. For now, he says he sees no problem. “The residents and the users and the visitors love it. It’s a little big, but it’s not unsightly, it serves its purpose,” he said.

Those in the community say otherwise. “The outcry that you would see on social media and what I’ve heard first hand from people it was total surprise. This thing on social media gathered in over two days over 500 negative comments,” said Keyser.

McCullough says the $7.5 million sewer system should be complete in 11 months. City council has voted to turn the trailer 90 degrees to try and hide it behind some trees. However, it will still sit right in the middle of the square. Members of the community moved the trailer Monday night.

 

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