City of Santa Fe Waterstreet Restrooms
City Councilor Signe Lindell has heard the frustration from Santa Fe residents and tourists about the lack of a downtown public restroom since she first ran for office in 2014.
City Tourism Director Randy Randall believes the frustration stretches back long before that.
“It’s been a problem for 410 years,” he said, referring to Santa Fe’s founding. “They used to solve it a different way.”
In any case, the city is rectifying the issue. It’s barreling toward a May opening of a $1.1 million, 1,700-square-foot public bathroom facility about a block from the Plaza in the Water — yes, Water — Street parking lot.
The bathroom, being designed in accordance with Santa Fe Historic District guidelines and built by Albuquerque-based FacilityBuild, will hold 10 stalls in the men’s and women’s bathrooms, as well as an adjoining tourism booth where visitors can grab information, directions and brochures.
The opening is planned to coincide with the kickoff of tourist season, Mayor Alan Webber said during a tour of the facility Wednesday morning.
“The No. 1 question everyone asks when they come downtown is ‘Where is the public bathroom?’ ” he said.
It’s an issue that came to a head in 2016, when the City Council approved a resolution to undertake a downtown restroom project, citing persistent complaints from visitors and residents about the lack of a public facility.