The Scottsdale City Council

The Scottsdale City Council approved the use of $722,000 to rebuild restroom facilities at the city’s McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.

Scottsdale has allocated $722,000 to build new restroom facilities at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, a public city park that attracts around 1 million visitors annually.

The larger facilities will replace restrooms built in 1982 and feature a design consistent with the park’s train station theme.

The park has seen consistent visitor growth in recent years and earlier this year won the 2019 ELGL Knope Award for the nation’s best park or open space. The award is sponsored by Engaging Local Government Leaders.

The park can attract as many 4,000 people in a single night during its popular holiday lights program that takes place every year in December, said Nick Molinari, city operations supervisor for the park.

The five-week event accounted for 49,000 rides on the park’s train and $313,000 in sales last year, Molinari said.

The City Council approved the $722,000 project on consent at its Nov. 12 meeting and awarded a $575,000 construction contract to Phoenix-based Straight Arrow Contracting, which had the lowest of six bids submitted to the city for the project.

The remaining project budget will cover administrative costs and a project contingency outside of the construction contract, according to the city.

The project will be funded with $440,000 from the general fund and $282,000 from park revenues.

A City Council memo on the new project noted that the city already has a separate capital improvement project to replace bathrooms and storage facilities at four city parks, including McCormick Stillman, but noted the two projects are separate.

“McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is included as one of the four (parks in the existing CIP project); however, this specific restroom is not part of that scope of work,” according to the City Council memo.

The city has allocated $1.4 million this fiscal year to the four-park project – which also includes Eldorado, Pima, Vista del Camino parks. The total budget for that project is $8.3 million.

The new bathroom facility is just one of several upgrades planned for the railroad park over the next few years.

The $112.6-million parks and recreation bond approved by voters earlier this month includes $917,207 to construct a splash pad and improve walkways at the park.

The city has also allocated over $4 million towards a capital improvement project to begin work on Phase 1 of the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park Masterplan.

The bulk of the $4 million was allocated from the city’s general fund. The park, which takes in revenues primarily in the form of ticket sales, is covering $850,000 of those costs, according to the city’s 2019-20 Capital Improvement Plan.

The project includes expanding the parking lot, replacing the bunkhouse and relocating the Merci Train, a boxcar gifted to the U.S. by France to express gratitude for U.S. assistance after World War II.