COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Yes, multiple crappers. The state Controlling Board is scheduled to approve spending for the new bathroom Monday, and has the item on its March 9 agenda. The project has been in the works since 2007 and is an addition to an existing carriage house. But the timing of the final approval process might look bad for Gov. Ted Strickland. He's been begging for billions in stimulus funds from Washington, citing the state's lousy economy. He's also had to slash state spending while pink slipping and furloughing state workers. Also, Ohio has thousands of homes in foreclosure, and countless families face homelessness as the statewide unemployment rate heads toward 10 percent. So the construction of a new five-hole restroom in the garden of the Ohio governor's mansion in Bexley carries the risk of raising a bit of a stink. It has the air of the French monarchy when Marie Antoinette said, "No bread, let them eat cake."
Here's some of what the budget request on the Controlling Board's agenda has to say:
"Administrative Services requests Controlling Board approval to release $267,535.70 for the Governor's Residence Heritage Garden Education Center project, Bexley, Franklin County. (SAO Project NumberDAS-070013).
"The Governor's Residence was designed in 1923 by Columbus architect Robert Gilmore Hanford. Construction was completed in 1925 on three acres in the City of Bexley. The Residence is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
"This project is an addition to the existing carriage house that will replace the current garden groundskeeper building. The new structure will include ADA-compliant restroom facilities for over 10,000 visitors annually and a gift shop where Ohio arts and crafts could be promoted and generate funds in support of the Residence and Heritage Garden. The goal of the project is to create a certified "green" building that will properly store flammables, support horticultural projects and the Heritage Garden, and utilize alternative energy sources, including solar panels and geothermal piping.
"On October 3, 2007, DAS received OBM Director approval to release funds to the State Architect's Office to hire an Associate Architect for the design of the education center.
"This request is for the construction of Phase One which entails modifications to the carriage house to add five new unisex ADA restrooms, a new geothermal heating system, new water and sanitary services, and new entrance doors. "
"ADA capital funds will be used for the cost of the General and Plumbing contractors because the construction of the restrooms and entrance doors will be ADA accessible and eligible for the use of these funds."