City Says the Cost Is $550,000 for Two Bathrooms

The bathrooms in the Rec Center, and adjacent to the playground, are not handicapped accessible.

If one wanted to build an ADA bathroom, they might do like this editor did and check Google for costs, just to get a rough estimate. According to the home advisor, remodeling a bathroom for accessibility costs between $100 and $15,000, but “Expect to pay up to $35, 000.” Those bathrooms’ costs included adding an accessible shower.

At the Palisades Park Advisory Board (PAB) meeting on January 18, Councilmember Traci Park’s field deputy Michael Amster told the board that Recreation and Parks it would cost $550,000 to remodel the two bathrooms in the building next to the playground – about a quarter of a million per bathroom.

There was an automatic response of disbelief from PAB Board President Andy Starrels and member Rick McGeagh.

Starrels said, “This is out of line. It is way too high.”

McGeagh who works in commercial real estate had just gotten a bid for two ADA restrooms on a project he was working on and was told it would cost $100,000 maximum.

He had also spoken to a local contractor, who told him it would be about $80,000 to redo the two park bathrooms.

The bathrooms and the playground are not ADA accessible, which means the City is out of compliance with Federal and State law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.

Both need to be replaced/renovated.

Under Councilmember Traci Park, the PAB board was told last year that about $1 million of Quimby Funds could be used towards ADA bathrooms and a playground. If $550,000 is used for bathrooms, that means that Palisades residents most likely would be tasked with having to raise money to fund the playground.

The Palisades Recreation Center was constructed in 1947. Since then, there have been no substantive upgrades. There have been sewer repairs, but the stalls, toilets and sink are not handicapped accessible.

This 1947 photo of the Rec Center was the first post war civic building constructed in the Palisades.
Photo: Palisades Historical Society, Zola Clearwater Collection

The American National Standard Institute issued in 1961 provided rudimentary provisions for walks, parking entrances and doors, toilet rooms, drinking fountains, public telephones and elevators.

To make matters worse for the City, the playground, which was build in 1986 is also not handicapped accessible.

Over the years of reporting on PAB meetings, this editor has reported that the City has said they do not have enough money to pay for a playground and bathrooms. As early as a 2014 PAB meeting, it was suggested by the City that if the Palisades wants a playground, they could raise the necessary funds.

CTN asked why other areas in the city automatically got new playgrounds.

RAP had approved an inclusive playground in Westwood (Aiden’s Place) in 2021, which replaced the original, constructed in 2001.

Per the report, “On March 5, 2020, the Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners (Board) approved the scope of the Project and the commitment of Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($750,000.00) in Park Fees for the Project, (Report No. 20-036).

“On September 2, 2021, the Board approved the commitment of an additional Six Hundred Thousand Dollars ($600,000.00) in Park Fees to the Project. (Report No. 21-154, Attachment 1). At that same meeting, the Board requested that staff share and present the final design of the Project with the community for additional input and feedback and return to the Board for the approval final design of the Project.”

Starrels thought that maybe Westwood was a regional park, which is why it had received funding. It is not. On the document Westwood is called a Community Park.

(Editor’s note: The RAP Board of Commissioners rotate their meetings. For one of the first times in recent history, the Commissioners will be at the Palisades Rec Center at 9 a.m. on March 21. Residents are urged to mark their calendars and attend.)

This Rec Center/playground, built in 1986, is not handicapped accessible, and there is no shade.

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5 Responses to City Says the Cost Is $550,000 for Two Bathrooms

  1. Lynn Miller Hylen says:

    Perhaps the Westwood playgrounds were funded with Quimby fees. As a more commercial area, Westwood development would generate far higher Quimby fees than the Palisades. The money for the Westwood playgrounds may have been earmarked before Quimby funds were allowed to be shared across jurisdictions too.

  2. KC Soll says:

    What City???

  3. Via Bluff Resident says:

    How is the park advisory board so clueless? How long has Starrels been on this board but doesn’t know how basic funding mechanisms work? I realize these are volunteers but does anyone do a speck of research on the agenda items before attending the meetings? For as long as I can remember, you have been writing about the decrepit bathrooms and playground but still no one knows how the funding process works and nothing ever gets done. Does this board accomplish anything? Shameful.

  4. Sue says:

    The PAB is an advisory board to the city, and were outraged at the price quoted for bathrooms at the meeting. The board are also volunteers and are not compensated for their time. It’s residents that need to speak up and ask our Councilmember to make changes.


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