Three public restrooms will be installed along the Truckee River pathway, a popular biking and pedestrian jogging route that stretches approximately 12 miles and is currently without facilities.
The Truckee Meadows Water Authority board on Wednesday heard a presentation regarding its agreement with the City of Reno, along with other entities, to construct, install, operate and maintain restrooms.
Construction and installation of the first toilet was scheduled to start earlier this month but was postponed due to protests in downtown Reno, said John Enloe, TMWA director of natural resources planning and management.
“The first (restroom) was delivered yesterday,” Enloe told TMWA board members. “The contract is executed and ready to go.”
Brodhead Memorial Park, 5 South Park St., will be the site of the first single-stall Portland Loo restroom. The park is near Reno’s police station.
TMWA staff says work is expected to take one to two months to complete once construction begins. The most time-consuming aspects involve pavement replacement and installation of power, water and sewer, Enloe said.
A valet will be scheduled to patrol the area during specified hours and the restroom will be cleaned a few times daily, according to plans.
TMWA Chairman Vaughn Hartung asked if certain cleaning guidelines need to be followed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What I don’t want to do is get into a situation where they say, ‘You didn’t sanitize this enough,’” Hartung said.
Even with a regular cleaning schedule, Enloe said it won’t be possible to disinfect after every user. However, he said hand sanitizer and a hand-washing station will be made available at each restroom.
Two other restroom sites haven’t yet been selected. Enloe said officials in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County want to see how the first restroom works out before deciding where they’d like the others.
Portland Loo restrooms have been touted as the “Swiss Army knife” of restrooms for their anti-graffiti wall panels, open grating, and easy-to-clean coating. The company website says the bathrooms are designed to prevent problems commonly experienced with public toilets, such as crime, vandalism, and deterioration.
Funding for building and maintenance of the Portland Loo facilities is coming from Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space grant funds, the Truckee River Fund, Nevada Land Trust, Washoe County Health District, Renown Health, and Nevada Department of Environmental Protection.
The construction and installation bid has been awarded to Gerhardt & Berry Construction, Inc. Total cost, not including restroom procurement, is almost $130,000.
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.