City has $450K to add second ramp at City Hall

The city plans to use a part of $450,000 in a line of credit borrowing package to build a second ramp for handicapped accessibility and to repair the elevator in City Hall.

A ramp that leads to the city police department at the rear of the building is too steep for access for many using wheelchairs and is not up to building code, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said.

The proposed ramp would align with the building outside of West Fourth Street and people will enter from the front of the building, he said.

The new ramp has a lower-grade elevation allowing easier access for those requiring it, he said.

The front entrance is considered by the administration to be more inviting than the police department entrance.

“It isn’t a good image for those needing ramp access to have to use the police entrance, especially when officers are bringing suspects and visitors in and out,” Campana said.

Preliminary designs have gone before council’s public works committee but no recommendations have been forwarded to council.

Center for Independent Living Roads to Freedom officials have attended the meetings and are awaiting the next phase of approval.

Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator, said the proposed ramp entrance would be underneath a large oak tree that has in the past been a roosting area for crows, making a health and safety hazard and mess that could make the ramp slippery and unsanitary.

“It’s up to the administration,” Gerardi said. So far the crows are not choosing to roost in the tree as they did last year at this time, he said.

The proposed ramp drawing and design are by Michael Snyder, an architect who worked on the Trade and Transit Centre II, said William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director.

Adam Winder, general manager of city streets and parks department, said the elevator, made by Otis, also will receive a makeover using the city funds.

The line of credit will use a portion of the cost for the ramp and elevator repair, Winder said.