Imagine being on an epic road trip and arriving in a town that has the last gas stations and the final stop for ice and groceries before heading into a national park where it’s more than an hour travel time to reach the main attractions. And at these gas stations and shops, there are no public restrooms.
That, folks, has been a decades-old dilemma for Three Rivers. Some businesses have added portable restrooms, which can be an inhospitable place for relief when the temperature is hovering around triple digits.
Now, after more than two decades, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted to approve $250,000 to build public restrooms on property owned by the Three Rivers Historical Society. The unanimous vote came at the Tuesday, June 12, BOS meeting.
Eric Coyne, deputy Tulare County administrator for Economic Development, outlined the agenda item and explained to the supervisors that there were still some details to be ironed out in an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that will nail down maintenance costs and a timetable to complete the construction. Coyne said he expects that the MOU can be delivered by the middle of July.
The bidding process can then proceed for the construction of the restrooms that could begin by the end of 2018.
Tom Marshall, president of the Three Rivers Historical Society, spoke on behalf of the group and said that the property is ideally suited because the Three Rivers Historical Museum has become the focal point of the community for residents and visitors.
Cindy Howell, CSD general manager, told the Board that for their part, they have donated $22,500 to upgrade the water system. That concluded public comments at the meeting.
Prior to the vote, Supervisor Crocker, District 1, and Steve Worthley, District 4 and current chairman, both urged their colleagues to approve the project expenditure.
Chairman Worthley concluded by saying: “In the past, we’ve collected lots of tax revenue from Three Rivers for the general fund, and now it’s time to give something back.”
Looking back on the community’s efforts to get these restrooms built, Marshall had this takeaway from Tuesday’s vote:
“The board sent a message that they realize we are a viable town up here and we are doing some great things.”