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Marilia Oliveira from Nebraska checks out the new self-cleaning public restrooms in Old Colorado City’s Bancroft Park. The restrooms were crowned America’s best by Cintas Corp. on Thursday.

To some Colorado Springs residents, Bancroft Park's restrooms have gained a reputation as the golden thrones.

The self-cleaning toilets in Old Colorado City proved they really are first class Thursday when they were named the 2020 winner of America's Best Restroom Contest by Cintas Corp., a company that provides washroom supplies among other products. 

The contest, now in its 19th year, is meant to raise awareness about restroom quality and draw attention to those providing top-notch facilities, said Sean Malcahey, who spoke on behalf of the company.

"We all have memories of walking into a restroom sometimes and being fearful of touching anything in our path, maybe even having to use the kick-flush method," he said. 

For Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, the honor was the fourth celebration of a city restroom he's attended lately for the city parks department. 

"It occurred to me we might consider changing the name of the department to Parks, Recreation, Restrooms and Cultural Services," he joked at a celebration of the Bancroft facilities. 

He also noted that as U.S. News and World Report's most desirable place to live, it's only fitting that Colorado Springs also have the most desirable restroom in the nation. 

The $300,000 restrooms in Bancroft Park first achieved fame when they went viral on TikTok, where a video about the restrooms' technology was seen by millions. Soap, water, toilet paper and hand dryers in the park restrooms are all activated by sensors. Visitors have 10 minutes to use the facilities and after every 30 uses the restrooms clean themselves.

The restrooms were installed during a $845,000 renovation to the park that was completed earlier this year. 

Cintas selected the restrooms as one of the top 10 in the country this year based on factors such as cleanliness, visual appeal and overall design, Malcahey said. The Bancroft restrooms were selected as no. 1 nationally through an online vote, he said. 

The city will receive $2,500 in restroom-related products from Cintas as part of the award. The toilets use disinfectant in their self-cleaning cycles and the prize money may help pay for that, city spokeswoman Vanessa Zink said.

Contact the writer at mary.shinn@gazette.com or (719) 429-9264.

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