Minturn restrooms voted best in nation
Where are they?
Heading into Minturn from Dowd Junction, take a left at the end of the 100 block of Main Street. That’s the first left past Sticky Fingers and the other businesses on the block. The restrooms are near the Eagle River, where the concrete basketball courts are. Don’t come ready to use the facilities, though — they’re shut down for the winter.
MINTURN — It’s the highest honor the high throne can receive, the royal flush.
The “modern restrooms” in Minturn’s Eagle Town Park were named best in the United States Tuesday in the 14th annual Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom contest.
Danny Rubin, of Rubin Communication Group, came in from Virginia Beach to give the award to the Minturn community. He was joined by Jillian Bauer, of the Cintas Corporation, who flew in from Cincinnati.
About 120 people turned out for the impromptu event.
“Minturn, Colorado, was up against some of the biggest cities in the country,” Rubin told the crowd. “You rallied the community, you gathered the votes and you won.”
Rubin said contest judges first narrowed the selection down from 50-60 possible restrooms to 10 finalists, which anyone from the public was allowed to vote on.
“Minturn was leading for the last few weeks of this contest, but it was close,” Rubin said. “Second and third place were not far behind.”
CROWDS AT THE COMMODE
Rubin said they couldn’t notify people who the winner was ahead of time because it would get in the press and ruin the official announcement. “We have to play it like this,” Rubin said.
Nevertheless, Rubin wasn’t surprised by such a large turnout.
“The fact that they won it all shows that (Town Planner Janet Hawkinson) can rally a crowd,” he said.
The bathrooms have become a hallmark project of Hawkinson’s short tenure as town planner. Hawkinson pulled together LaN Live Architecture Network out of Boulder and LGM 3D Printing and Modeling Services in Minturn to create the bathrooms using state-of-the-art 3-D printing. The inside of the bathrooms resembles a narrow passageway down a mine, a nod to the town’s history as well as a functional piece of public art. In order to make the project work within Minturn’s tight budget of about $100,000, LGM called in an intern, local high school student and Minturn native Mason Vance, who donated his time. Eagle County also kicked in some grant money.
Visiting from Denver just for the event, the bathrooms brought Toni Holmes to Minturn for the first time in her life. Holmes has known Hawkinson for 13 years.
“She’s always been a hard worker,” Holmes said.
EVERYWHERE A SIGN
LGM was one of several local businesses in the crowd with a banner displaying their logo. Restaurants Kirby Cosmos and the Turntable were out with banners, and the students of Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy worked their way to the front of the crowd with their school’s logo on a poster board. In front of the bathrooms themselves, a 1920s-era sign reads “modern restrooms.” It was donated by local shop The Scarab. Holding her Gemini Gardens storefront sign, Lynn Teach said she told all her customers to vote for the bathrooms.
“We make a joke out of it, and people love it,” she said. “There’s contests for everything else, so why wouldn’t there be one for bathrooms?”
Minturn Mayor Hawkeye Flaherty thanked all involved for their hard work and all the thought that went into creating the restrooms.
“Hopefully it will be a nice place to come and contemplate, as you sit for a few minutes, on how your day is going,” he told the crowd. “Enjoy them!”
For more information on the Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom contest, visit http://www.bestrestroom.com/us.
A new Hallmark Channel movie set in Vail, starring Lacey Chabert of “Mean Girls,” will make its debut on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. EST.