The restroom at Pah Rah Mountain Park, located at 1750 Shadow Lane, is getting a makeover to serve year-round guests and add increased accessibility. In 2012, the parks and recreation department at the City of Sparks built an all-abilities playground with features that can be used by children of all ages and abilities.
The playground at Pah Rah Park is supported by other amenities such as: volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts; picnic areas and gazebos; horseshoe pits; baseball and soccer fields; a concrete walking trail and two other playgrounds.
“(Back in 2012) we had an opportunity to build something of all-inclusiveness and it has increased the park’s popularity immensely,” says City of Sparks Parks Development Coordinator Chris Cobb. “The idea behind it is that every type of individual can use it from completely healthy young children to kids with sensory issues or disabilities. This park is all-inclusive and interactive so that all kids can play together and feel normal.”
Some of the all-abilities playground equipment includes climbing nets, an elevated platform area that is wheelchair accessible, a rock wall, and an oversized disc swing.
“There are 13 different play structures- the designers set them out thinking of all of the different abilities,” says Cobb. He added that the playground is lined with an artificial surface and rubber wear tiles instead of the traditional wood chips that can be hard to maintain. However, the bathroom that was built to complement the all-abilities playground at the time only consisted of two permanent units that are closed in the winter months.
Most cities build parks within walking distance of one’s home, but Pah Rah Mountain Park evolved into a more regional park that is easily accessible from all parts of Sparks. Located four miles past Baring Boulevard off of Vista and near Los Altos Parkway, the 13.5-acre park has gained in popularity, which also creates a need for adequate bathrooms.
“The seasonal portable units were not very inviting,” says Cobb. “There is a necessity with this going in. When we built the playground we met the needs of users, but we’re not now,” he adds.
The city council approved the $330,000 Pah Rah Park restroom renovation project in September 2016. The Public Restroom Company based in Minden built the prefabricated unit and then the city will set it in place after the demolition and footing construction. Anchor Concrete (a longtime business based in Sparks) will begin the demolition starting March 6. The project will include demolishing portions of the walking path which will be closed during construction.
The project is expected to be completed by April 1, weather permitting. It will feature separate stalls for men and women with three toilets and a sink, plus a separate oversized family unit. The heated permanent structure will allow the restroom to remain open year-round.