Main Street comfort station

The long-delayed comfort station on Main Street in Wakefield opened last weekend.

The long-awaited comfort station on Main Street in Wakefield, originally slated for completion in October, then delayed to January, then to May and delayed once more, opened for partial use last weekend. Both public bathrooms in the facility are open during the day.

The facility, also referred to as an intermodal station, resembles the Kingston Train Station depot, and consists of two bathrooms, a basement for storage, a bicycle rack and a small meeting space. The state Department of Transportation managed construction of the facility, and once it is completed the town will maintain the building.

“There is still a sizable [construction] punch list that needs to be completed, but all the items that remain do not involve the two restrooms,” said Town Manager Stephen A. Alfred. “We have agreed with the state for the two restrooms to open. However, the town has not assumed ownership or responsibility for the remainder of the building. We’ve indicated to the DOT that we will assume responsibility for the entire facility once the project is completed.”

The Independent has requested status updates from the DOT several times in the past month. DOT officials said they would be unable to comment by press time this week. In an email last week, spokeswoman Rose Jones said the goal was to open for the weekend.

“We are working with the town to get the facility open as soon as possible; our goal is this weekend [Aug. 15 and 16],” Jones said in an Aug. 13 email. “There are a few items remaining – such as installing exterior signage, minor electrical work, etc. – but this should not delay the opening.”

In November, Jones said “complications” with the plumbing needed to be corrected before the interior of the structure was completed, delaying project completion to January, but that completion date was moved to May to finish “work such as plumbing fixtures, painting, wood trim and tiling,” Jones said in June.

The town has listed the facility as a potential capital project since 1999, when the town received DOT funding to do site remediation. It purchased the property abutting the William C. O’Neill Bike Path in 2003 – formerly the site of Teeny’s Glass – and completed significant design work by 2007. But the poor economy and delays in anticipated DOT funding slowed the project.

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