The Investigators

May 5, 2014 3:41 PM by Bret Buganski

N4T Investigators: Inaccessible bathrooms

VAIL - It's one of Pima County's finest attractions. Colossal Cave Mountain Park is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Some facilities there are in desperate need of a facelift , like its campground bathrooms which are not handicapped accessible.

N4T Investigators looked into this matter and shows you why solving this problem is anything but a simple solution.

"It was a nice experience, I enjoyed it, we like to picnic and take the dogs," said 72-year-old Bernita Heslin, who these days doesn't move without the help of her cane.

"They are not very accessible," said Heslin, as she refers to the campground bathrooms at Colossal Cave Mountain Park. She stopped going there because she had problems getting to the bathrooms.

"One spot you have to go up a little hill with loose gravel and dirt sticker bushes on either side of you," said Heslin.

There's also no hand railings inside or outside the bathroom.

Not all bathrooms are created equally. N4T Investigators noticed a one to two inch difference between the sand and cement entrance on the women's bathroom entrance. But on the other side, the men's bathroom, you have to step down an entire foot before you're completely out of the bathroom.

"We do absolutely everything we can to keep this park as clean and maintained as we can," said park director Martie Meierhauser, who acknowledged the bathrooms on the campgrounds are indeed not handicap accessible.

N4T Investigators asked her why this had not been fixed before?

"I can't even answer that, I think we hadn't thought about it," said Meierhauser.

The campground bathroom facilities were built in the 1970s, and up until 2014, according to Maierhauser, nobody complained about bathrooms access. She said that's why no action took place.

"There are an awful lot of things a lot of maintenance that's been deferred," said Mike Holmes, with Pima County's Economic Development and Tourism office. Holmes said Colossal Cave's operations are a mess.

In fact, so big of a mess, the park is currently under audit, where they're examining several aspects such as finances, attendance declines, and the shooting of a mountain lion that allegedly occurred on the park's grounds.

"It's the audit that's complicating things and the other thing is where does that lie on the priority of all of the other things that need to be fixed out there," said Holmes.

"I don't think that we would ever be able to afford, the kind of money that would be required to put in handicapped accessible bathrooms in the picnic area," said Maierhauser.

But Maierhauser did say she's willing to put in handrails inside and outside the bathrooms for starters.

"That is something we absolutely can do and we're going to do that very soon," she said.

N4T Investigators asked Maeirhauser if there was a time date this was all set to be completed?

"I would say as soon as we have an opportunity to consult with the person who is going to be coming out from parks and recreation, it would be within two or three weeks."

"I'm sure they'd get a lot more people to go out there and use the park, if they did," said Heslin.

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