Berlin looks to make town more handicap accessible

Berlin looks to make town more handicap accessible

Record-Journal


BERLIN — Town Hall, Berlin Peck-Memorial Library, the senior center and the police station, among other town buildings, do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Some buildings go back to the ’60s and ’70s,” said Jack Healy, the town’s public works director and interim town manager. Healy spoke at a recent Town Council meeting about making the town more ADA-compliant.

Residents voiced their concerns about sections of town not being ADA compliant. Carol Ranieri said she the library and senior center are not easily accessible and need to be improved.

Barbara Gombotz, chairwoman of the Commission for the Aging, echoed Ranieri’s concerns and said an elevator was needed to make the library ADA-compliant.

The Town Council recently agreed to proceed with a $276,619 bid for the elevator. A $125,000 grant was obtained, with $25,619 reallocated for the project on the town side. The rest of the money was raised by the library.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall.

“Even handicap spots now are hard with the incline,” said Helen Malinka, the library director.

The library and Town Hall are on the top of a hill on Kensington Road. The community center is attached to the library at the bottom of the hill.

Patrons must park in the handicapped spots at the community center and go up the sidewalk. At the library, there is an incline to the entrance from the parking spaces.

The elevator will allow patrons to park at the community center and take the elevator up to the library floor.

Malinka said more parking spots will likely be added once the elevator is installed.

Buildings like Town Hall already have an elevator but are still not easily handicapped-accessible. The police station, all on one level, is lacking a handicapped bathroom.

In order for those with disabilities to access a bathroom, they must go to Town Hall.

“We want to make sure all the laws are enforced,” said Bob Peters, chairman of the Police Commission.

Police have recently been issuing tickets to local businesses that lack handicapped parking. Peters said the department is making sure businesses have parking spots regulated by the law.

“It’s an ADA issue,” he said.

Healy said the police department will work to enforce handicapped parking while the town will improve building accessibility.

akus@record-journal.com 203-317-2448 Twitter: @KusReporter


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