The public restrooms at Aliso Beach — the last remnant of the Aliso Pier — are being torn down, making way for more beach restoration area.
The existing facilities were slowly decaying, and it was more cost effective for Orange County to build new facilities, said Don Johnson, the project manager.
The restrooms were at the base of the Aliso Pier, which was built in 1971. The pier was badly damaged in the storms during the 1997 El Nino season.
The pier was demolished in 1999, leaving the restrooms behind.
“What’s there now was just the remnant,” Johnson said.
Plans to rebuild the pier at the county beach never materialized, leaving the restrooms as the only reminder of the pier.
But to repair the restrooms now would mean updating them to fit within the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act — a task that’s not worth the money when new facilities could be erected.
“Those restrooms were falling apart, and there was just no way to make them ADA compliant,” Johnson said.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to award $855,000 to start building new restrooms in May.
Construction started in July. Johnson said he hopes the project will be completed by the end of January, but that’s just an estimate.
The county’s new venture will be a multipurpose building in the parking lot farther away from the beach. Johnson said this will make for more room and a better view on the beach
“There was no purpose in placing the facility on the beach,” Johnson said.
The new building will have 10 new private restroom stalls, a departure from the communal facilities that were in place.
Two of the 10 stalls will be wheelchair accessible.
Included in the plans is a snack bar that, according to project construction contractor Andy Stuber, may be used for rental items as well.
The area where the old restrooms are now will be remodeled to restore the beach. There will also be walkways and an extension of current grassy areas.
“There will be nothing obstructing the view or hindering the beach,” Johnson said. “It’s a good thing.”
Also in the plans is a space for an ADA-appropriate fire pit on the beach.
Half the pit will be in the sand, half will be set into a pathway that is wheelchair accessible.
“They can roll right up there and have a fire just like anyone else,” Stuber said.