The Woodlands Township on May 18 agreed to not construct the bathrooms at Capstone Park after weeks of back-and-forth conversation among community residents. To prevent further issues, Capstone Park was also redesignated as a neighborhood park instead of an area park.

How we got here

The township board of directors agreed to construct two freestanding bathrooms at Sundance and Capstone Parks at its Feb. 16 meeting. However, at subsequent meetings dozens of residents from around Capstone Park spoke in opposition to the restrooms due to concerns over safety and ecological impact.

A petition with 652 signatures as of publication was started by residents surrounding Capstone Park against the restroom construction.

The Capstone Park bathrooms were placed back on the May 18 agenda, at which time the board decided to cancel the construction of the bathrooms.

What they’re saying

Residents who have spoken at township meetings have cited concerns regarding homelessness, drug use and crime increasing in the area due to the presence of the restrooms.

“Capstone is a very unique park, and it’s surrounded by houses, and what we want the board to do is change it from an area park to a neighborhood park so we don’t have to go through this again in six months or a year,” said Ann Perry, a resident of Capstone who has worked to organize a number of residents on the issue.

Director Kyle Watson, who initially supported the bathroom construction, said the outreach from the community was enough to warrant changing their decision.

“It's undeniable that the residents in Capstone are the greatest affected by this decision. If you do not want it and it is obvious that you do not, why would I subject even the risks, no matter how minimal, onto you?” Watson said.

Board Chair Ann Snyder also said she sympathized with residents’ concerns.

“I think we can all agree that our parks are an amenity to enjoy,” Snyder said.

What’s next

Parks in The Woodlands follow a hierarchy system designating the kind of amenities and services provided to the park. With the reclassification of Capstone into a neighborhood park, the board directed Chief Operations Officer Chris Nunes to work on presenting a new system of classifications for the parks within The Woodlands.

There will not be any future proposals for restrooms at the park, according to the board.