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City Hall repairs estimated cost at $2 million

“Two million dollars.”

That’s what Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator, said he priced repairs and accessibility upgrades in order for Williamsport City Hall to be functional for years to come.

It also would meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal law on the books since 1990, he said.

The host site of city government business is not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that could result in an inspection and shutting down of the building should the government decide that is the case, he said.

The list continued with other projects necessary and did not include a full assessment of the needs at public works building or the fire station at Walnut Street, he said.

At the request of City Council, Gerardi said he spent the past four weeks completing a repair and accessibility compliance study on City Hall and the estimate he concluded is $2 million.

Gerardi noted on Wednesday ahead of the council meeting tonight there were primary problems, including a partial roof repair, heating system, fixing the interior drainage systems that flood during heavy rain, adding another access ramp, modifying the elevator and improving security.

Handicapped accessibility upgrades would be necessary and are included in the report for council to look at, Gerardi said.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana’s accessibility and security improvements were estimated at $960,000, and are included in the $2 million estimate, Gerardi said.

Gerardi said for what is likely to be $1 million, as costs increase next year, for a modified elevator, ramp on West Fourth Street and security improvements, the mayor-elect’s administration can decide what to do next.

Campana said the delay was not due to his stalling, but rather council did not want to move forward due to political reasons.

“They did not want my administration to accomplish this task,” he said.

The restrooms on the first and third floor are not handicapped accessible under federal law, neither are all of the obstacles removed that impede the free flow and requirements for this part of the community, the study reveals.

Also, the building’s counters need to be modified in certain locations, doors need to have reduced tension and knobs need to be replaced with levers, the plan stated.

For safety and security reasons, the fire alarm pulls need to be lowered and there are lighting systems that need to be adjusted as part of the accessibility needs, he said.

Council leadership removed the discussion of the compliance plan at the committee level this past week.

Councilman Derek Slaughter, the city mayor-elect, said no more money should be spent on the building until such a compliance study was done.

Slaughter said he would want to have his administration and council discuss it and then review a plan to show costs of what would be required to relocate offices should that be the decision. Slaughter will be sworn in as mayor in January.

“The drawback is putting a lot of money in the City Hall and leaving,” Slaughter said. “That does not make sense.”

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