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Riviera restroom dilemma: Newly renovated bathrooms have been closed weekends, evenings

Riviera restrooms not open as city officials would like

Riviera restrooms are not open as often as city officials would like, because there is not enough staff to close the building during the evening.

People looking to use the Riviera restrooms while shopping in downtown Lake Geneva may be out of luck depending when they are out and about.

The recent Riviera renovation was supposed to ensure bathrooms would be open year-round to accommodate tourists. But the bathrooms have in recent weeks been closed on weekends and on evenings.

A renovation project was completed to the historic building this summer, which included updating the restrooms.

With the renovations, city officials had hoped that the restrooms would be available throughout the year for people who needed to use them.

The lower-level shops are closed from November to the following spring, but with the renovations the city was able to close off the rest of the building and leave the bathrooms open.

Public Works Director Tom Earle said his staff closes the Riviera when they are done working for the day because there is not enough city staff to monitor the building and lock it during the evening hours.

“We’re a little bit worried about leaving it open for obvious reasons without anybody there or without police or community service officers down around there,” Earle said. “So we lock it when we leave, then it remains locked on Saturday and Sunday.”

Earle said there also is no definite time for when the building should be closed for the evening.

“I can’t staff it until 8 o’clock and say, ‘Boom, the Riviera is closed,’” Earle said. “I looked through the leases and it does not say it closes at 8 o’clock or 9 o’clock.”

City aldermen discussed the issue during the city council’s public works committee meeting, Nov. 22.

Alderwoman Cindy Flower said she would like the building to be open to the public during the winter, because that was part of intent of the Riviera renovation project.

“I think we’ve made a very large investment to make it so that it could be open,” Flower said.

Alderwoman Mary Jo Fesenmaier said she would like the building to be available for people shopping in the downtown area during the holidays.

Earle said at the Nov. 22 meeting that he planned to talk with the Lake Geneva Police Department about having a police officer available to monitor and close the building during the evening hours.

Alderman John Halverson said he would be in favor of having a police officer close the building or having a city staff member close the building for a few weeks.

“I think it can be done,” Halverson said.

Flower said she agrees that Earle should talk with the police department about having an officer available to close the building during the evening.

“I’m pretty sure your approach right now to work with the PD sounds like the best,” Flower told Earle. “We want it to stay open for the holidays.”

Earle said, during the summer, Gage Marine employees close the building when their boat tours are done for the day. However, they are not available during the winter.

“Gage Marine locks the Riviera totally— the upstairs, the downstairs. They check everything and lock the bathrooms,” Earle said. “They did that all summer. So the bathrooms remained open until the boats came in, then Gage Marine took care of it.”

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