A cross-easement agreement between the City of Geneseo and a downtown building owner may ensure public restrooms remain in place.

The restrooms, which are built from cement block, are located in the alley between Vintage Redheads and the Geneseo Republic.

Vintage Redheads is located at 101 S. State St. For many years, that site served as Geneseo’s City Hall. The public restrooms were constructed at the rear of the building for the convenience of shoppers and those attending events and festivals in the downtown area.

Piping for the bathrooms runs through the 101 S. State St. building, which was sold by the city to Tom Mays.

“We cannot find any paperwork that was completed in the past giving us permanent rights to enter his building to do work on the bathroom pipes,” said city administrator Lisa Kotter.

Last summer, Mays asked the city to separate the pipes so city staff no longer had to enter his building.

That left Geneseo officials with a dilemna: installing separate pipes could cost between $5,000 and $7,000. In addition, once work of that scope is undertaken, the city would be responsible for making the bathrooms ADA compliant. Doing so would involve converting the two-stall women’s restroom into a single-stall bathroom. The men’s restroom would lose its urinal and also become a single-stall bathroom.

The alternative would be to remove the bathrooms entirely, however aldermen were reluctant to do that, and members of the public were vocal about their desire to keep the restrooms.

At the Tuesday, Feb. 26 committee of the whole meeting, aldermen were presented with a third solution. While pipes for the restrooms are located in Mays’ building, the air conditioning units and a fire escape ladder for his building are located on top of the restrooms.

Entering into a cross-easement agreement with Mays would allow the city access to their pipes and give Mays access to his air conditioning units and fire escape ladder.

The agreement would eliminate the need for the city to spend money to move pipes.

Aldermen voted 7-1 to move the cross-easement agreement proposal to their city council meeting for a final vote. Alderman Craig Arnold voted ‘no.’