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Kodiak seeks solution to restroom vandalism

Posted: September 15, 2013 - 12:07am

KODIAK — Kodiak ports officials trying to stop vandalism at a public restroom are considering issuing key cards for access.

“Our Shelikof restroom has been a source of a lot of issues over the years,” said Kodiak Shipyard manager Lon White on Wednesday at a meeting of the Kodiak Ports and Harbor Advisory Board. “Primarily a handful of citizens abuse the use of the facility, they do a bunch of damage to it and make it unusable for the average citizen.”

Abusers camp in restrooms and drink alcohol, White said. Kodiak police take vandals into protective custody at the hospital or the jail, but when they’re back on the street, they’re likely to again abuse the public restroom, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.

The harbor office locks harbor restrooms around midnight. They reopen at 7 a.m. Problems typically occur after 8 a.m. when a nearby homeless shelter requires people to check out.

“It’s a constant problem for our staff and the police department,” White said.

Kodiak Police Chief T.C. Kamai proposed the keycard lock system, White said. Only authorized users could use the facilities.

The keycard system would cost $5,000 to $10,000. Harbor office staff could print keycards for users and manage access.

Board members questioned who could be refused access cards.

“It would be almost impossible to say no to somebody unless it was totally exclusive to harbor users,” harbormaster Marty Owen said.

Known habitual abusers could be denied access, White said.

Advisory board member Tim Abena, who is not in favor of a card system, said this is a police matter.

“I’m not in favor of this card system and spending any money on that,” Abena said. “I don’t think it will work either.”

Advisory board member Stormy Stutes suggested the harbormaster’s office simply issue a key for users.

The ports and harbor board will take the matter up again in October.

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