Downtown Steamboat public restroom finalist for America’s best restroom contest |

Downtown Steamboat public restroom finalist for America’s best restroom contest

The city of Steamboat Springs’ new public bathrooms on Seventh Street are in the running for the America's Best Restroom contest. (Photo by John F. Russell)

To most, the public restroom in downtown Steamboat Springs may not look like much. The restroom, which is a secluded building on the west side of Seventh Street, stands relatively unused during the week but sees packed lines during the Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market each Saturday and in the height of winter sports season, when groups of visitors flock to town and explore downtown Steamboat.

Despite looking like an ordinary building, the restroom earned a spot among nine others for the 2021 America’s Best Restroom Contest, a contest put on by Cintas, an Ohio-based manufacturer of uniforms and cleaning supplies.

“We’ve got a diverse list of facilities from across the country vying for the title of America’s Best Restroom,” Cintas Marketing Manager Sean Mulcahey said. “The public is expecting a higher hygiene standard in public restrooms, and we’re proud to spotlight these unique restrooms that are well-maintained without sacrificing aesthetic quality.”

Restrooms are nominated online. Then Cintas staff choose 10 nominations based on a variety of criteria, including cleanliness, aesthetics, comfort level, location and other factors.

Members of the public are invited to nominate their favorite restroom at The winner will be announced Aug. 20 and will be honored with a place in the America’s Best Restroom Hall of Fame and $2,500 in facility services or restroom cleaning from Cintas.

The restroom was part of the larger $2.5 million Butcherknife Floodplain Improvements Project, which was funded from $1.61 million matching city funds and an $800,000 Department of Local Affairs grant with $90,000 in grants from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Mulcahey said the facility’s year-round indoor heating feature and unique architecture are what rolled Steamboat to its finalist spot.

“It has a really cool exterior to it, and to know it’s right in downtown is very cool,” Mulcahey said. “It has both the visual appeal and the functionality going along with it.”

Main Street Steamboat Executive Director Lisa Popovich said the restroom was a No. 1 request from business owners in the area and also provides a convenience for downtown visitors in emergencies.

“No one wants to say no to an individual asking for a restroom, but many businesses in older buildings have challenges with the location of facilities, and the age of plumbing makes extending access to the public problematic,” Popovich said. “These restrooms provide a solution to that issue.”

Steamboat Public Works Director Jon Snyder said the city had been discussing a downtown restroom for years, and Steamboat Springs City Council chose the Seventh Street spot because of its central location. Council also emphasized it wanted the restroom to match the surrounding architecture in the area, which Mulcahey said helped Steamboat earn its finalist spot.

“It’s nice and clean, and it just looks cool,” City Manager Gary Suiter said. “We all wanted a unique design and something that would look nice, and I think it does that.”

Steamboat’s restroom sits alongside nine others from across the country, including Core24 GVL in Greenville, South Carolina; Fancy Flush in Santa Rosa, California; Airport Terminal 4 in the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City; Planet Word in Washington, D.C.; Pump House in Kannapolis, North Carolina; The Fed Community in Clarkston, Michigan; Two Cities Pizza in Cincinnati, Ohio; and William S. Craycraft Park in Mission Viejo, California.

“It’s certainly an honor,” Snyder said. “A strange honor, but an honor nonetheless.”

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