Glenwood Springs Council decides on location for new downtown restrooms | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood Springs Council decides on location for new downtown restrooms

A pedestrain walks through the city and county owned parking lot located at Seventh Street and Colorado Avenue where Glenwood Springs now plans to build new public restroom facilities.

Glenwood Springs City Council, after working closely with the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), has designated where the city's new permanent, public restrooms will go, after the construction of the new Grand Avenue Bridge wiped out the old facilities.

"The City Council selected the location at the corner of Colorado and Seventh Street for a simple men's and women's bathroom facility," Assistant City Manager Jenn Ooton confirmed Tuesday.

After numerous locations were vetted by the city's Tourism Promotion Board, Parks and Recreation Board and the Glenwood Springs Police Department, the DDA unanimously recommended the southeast corner of Seventh and Colorado based upon all of the stakeholders' input.

"The board considered the opportunity to locate restrooms adjacent to existing utilities, use city-owned land, take advantage of scheduled work at the corner of Seventh Street and Colorado, and create a public amenity that will have high visibility, easy way finding and will not block views of the river from existing businesses or pedestrians," DDA Chairman Steve Carver stated in a memo to City Council back in September.

While the location of the restrooms was finalized, how they will look, aesthetically, is still in question.

During a Nov. 15 work session discussion, councilors steered away from the once-touted Portland Loo single-stall flush toilet. In one council member's words, it looked more like a "horse trailer" than a facility fitting the characteristics of downtown Glenwood.

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Additionally, the thought of spending $95,000 to $100,000 on a Portland Loo, which may experience plumbing challenges when the temperature drops below 20 degrees, sat about as well with council members as the current porta potties have with Seventh Street business owners.

"The location makes good sense to me," City Councilor Rick Voorhees said. "The city could easily spend too much on any restroom. I haven't heard any citizen ask for more than a place to direct visitors. At some point, we've got to live within our resources and provide practical amenities."

"A quarter of a million dollars is better than half a million dollars suggested for an iconic bathroom several years ago," Voorhees added.

City Councilor and DDA liaison Steve Davis pointed out how the DDA already had $250,000 budgeted for downtown public restrooms. Citing RFTA's bathroom facilities at its bus stops, Davis said he believed the project could see completion without too hefty a tab.

"We ought to be able to do it for under $200,000," Davis said.

While there was some discussion of constructing one unisex facility, Davis quipped during the work session, "After living with my wife for 42 years, I know for a fact we need a men's and a women's restroom in the downtown."

Davis's sentiment certainly struck a chord, as many agreed one unisex restroom would not adequately accommodate Glenwood's growing number of residents and visitors.

Voorhees warned, however, "I'm concerned that with the approaching bids for Seventh Street [beautification project] that we're settling into expenditure habits that will tie the city's hands several years into the future. If we're not vigilant we won't be able to meet other important needs going forward."

mabennett@postindependent.com