CARS of Palestine's project of building a restroom facility in Davey Dogwood Park has stalled again, despite hopes it would be ready for this year's Dogwood Trails Festival in March. The project is 10 years, and almost $50,000, in the making. Still, park visitors will have to continue using standard issue port-a-potties for at least a while longer.
The latest sticking point: Stalls might not arrive until May. In January, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice contracted to build the steel dividers for roughly $11,000. Anderson County Commissioner's Court approved the request by Precinct 4 County Commissioner Joey Hill.
Early last year, heavy rains slowed the project. Replacing an old plumbing line that supplied water from a main on Queen Street caused further delays. Commissioner Hill's crew laid a new 2,600-foot line – when they weren't managing washouts or repairing county roads.
“It's been a long time coming,” Hill said.
Potties in the Park is the dream of James Kirkwood, a CARS charter member and park booster. Kirkwood owns a dirt work business and donated his labor to the project.
In 2010, CARS raised about $12,000 for the facility, thanks largely to Palestine Rotary members and other private donors.
Labor and deeply discounted supplies were provided by Kirkwood, Cooper & Cooper Plumbing, Henderson Electric, Braly's Ace Hardware, Walter Chaffin, and Ty Cobble.
Anderson County also provided money for the water line. The latest addition was an aerobic system with a 1,500-gallon and two 750-gallon tanks.
A nonprofit organization starting in 1986, CARS has sponsored food drives, toy drives, and student scholarships. The group raises funds from entrance fees at annual car shows, such as Dogwood Festival and Hot Pepper Festival.