Porta-potties have got to go, says Glenwood tourism board | PostIndependent.com

Porta-potties have got to go, says Glenwood tourism board

Matthew Bennett
mabennett@postindependent.com

Centennial Park at the corner of Ninth and Grand in downtown Glenwood Springs is the top pick by Glenwood's Tourism Promotion Board for a future public restroom facility.

Glenwood Springs' public restrooms stink, says the city's advisory board on tourism matters.

A town to which tourists flock for its numerous attractions — from the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort to America's only mountain-top theme park, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park — and where residents choose to live less for the cost of living than for the surrounding natural beauty, the question of where to place permanent public restrooms has proven messy and difficult.

Construction of the new Grand Avenue Bridge — the largest infrastructure project on the Western Slope in over 25 years — resulted in the elimination of Glenwood's previous public restrooms under the old bridge on Seventh Street. The temporary fix has been to place porta-potties at strategic locations around the downtown area.

Recently, the Glenwood Springs Tourism Promotion Board weighed in on the issue, identifying three possible locations for permanent facilities. Those include Centennial Park, located at Ninth and Grand, as the top choice, followed the vacant Bethyl Lot in the 700 block of Grand, and underneath the Grand Avenue Bridge across Seventh Street from Grind restaurant.

On July 20, the Tourism Promotion Board voted unanimously in favor of eventually placing restrooms at Centennial Park, which hosts Glenwood's Downtown Market in the summer on Tuesdays and is home to the Rona Chorman Memorial Garden. The motion identified the second choice as the Bethyl Lot.

The area underneath the Grand Avenue Bridge did not make it into the motion, which was made by board member Scott Dyer and seconded by colleague Jeremy Gilley.

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According to correspondence between board Chairman Trent Blizzard and members of the Glenwood Springs City Council, the board found only pros for permanent public restrooms in Centennial Park and did not outline any cons for the location, as it did with the other two sites.

One con for the Bethyl lot included that it is owned by the Downtown Development Authority, which is currently trying to figure out how to develop the lot.

A con for permanent restroom facilities below the Grand Avenue Bridge was they "may obstruct some of the river view."

When it came to Centennial Park, however, according to Blizzard's letter, "Nobody has voiced complaints about this location," further stating that no "not in my backyard" arguments were made.

Both Centennial Park and the Bethyl lot had either existing water infrastructure either onsite or nearby.

With respect to the under bridge location, as outlined in the correspondence, "plumbing is set and ready to go," as that area had already been planned to house the restrooms at one point.

While the vote does not authorize any formal, final decision regarding the fate of permanent public restrooms, the unanimous motion does serve as a recommendation from a prominent board as City Council makes its determination.

"One of the cons discussed by Council is [Centennial Park's] distance from the Seventh Street area," Shelley Kaup, one of two at-large members of City Council, told the Post Independent.

"The park is central to our downtown area with shops that extend to 10th Street, and it is close to the parking garage," she said. "At the same time, Centennial Park is used for multiple events during the year, such as the Farmers Market, holiday events and others. It is a good option for location of a public restroom."