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Potsdam Town Hall needs disability renovations

Watertown Daily Times - 7/1/2018

July 01--POTSDAM -- The Town Hall building, 18 Elm St., will need further renovations to make the building more accessible.

The Town Hall, which was built in 2012 and first used by town officials on Jan. 28, 2013, complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design that was enacted into law by the Department of Justice in September 2010.

The building has a ramp leading up to the front door and bathrooms that are accessible, but for the building to be certified as accessible, it requires further renovations.

"It's handicap compliant. I mean, people could get in, but if someone were to come up to the hall in a wheelchair alone, they might have a harder time," Town Deputy Supervisor Rosemarie Rivezzi said. "The building already is very user-friendly, it's just that we can make it better."

On June 18, Tisdel Associates from Canton visited the building to analyze it and draw up designs of what would be needed, according to Mrs. Rivezzi.

The necessary renovations include adding a ramp to the main hallway on the first floor of the building as well as making some of the doors automatic.

These changes will help encourage residents with disabilities to visit.

"(The renovation) allows more independence for a user who maybe is alone in a wheelchair or alone navigating that long hallway," Mrs. Rivezzi said.

As of yet there is no quote for the project, but Mrs. Rivezzi said she would hunt down a grant to fund it.

"If one is available I am going to seek it out, but I have not done that yet," she said. "A plan is the first step ... knowing what's needed is something we need to get done, and then we can go forward and decide the best way to do that."

The building was a $1.3 million project that was funded through a capitol project -- money was raised through a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with Brookfield Renewable Power. Originally, the town government met on 35 Market St., but that building was renovated and is now used as a Town Court.

The changing of the Town Hall location originally came under fire, as various groups suggested that the Town Hall at 35 Market St. simply be revamped.


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