Electric lift set to be added to Ballston Spa Village Hall

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
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— An electric lift will be added to the outside of Village Hall to make it handicapped-accessible for the first time, village trustees have decided.

The Village Board voted Monday in favor of a $68,000 plan that will add an elevator-type lift on the west side of the building, with work to be done this year.

The board felt a lift would detract less from the Bath Street building’s historic architecture than a wheelchair ramp, said Mayor John P. Romano, even though a wooden ramp would have been less expensive.

“The biggest reason for the selection of the lift was aesthetics,” he said.

The building was originally erected in 1873 as the home of First National Bank and has been the municipal building for decades. It has never been brought into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Romano said there was no federal government pressure brought to comply, but village officials decided it needed to be brought into compliance after a handicapped-access issue arose last year at the village swimming pool.

“It’s not an option, it’s a requirement. It’s something we have to do,” Romano said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

In January, the CHA engineering firm of Colonie was hired to develop options. The firm concluded that access will need to be on the west side of the building, where there’s no entrance now; the east side faces a steep slope, and front access would require removing historic stone stairs.

The cost of the lift is estimated at $33,784. About $4,000 will be spent for a brick wall to screen the lift from the street. Other necessary work, including cutting an entrance through the west wall and interior modifications, is estimated at $30,595, Romano said.

Trustees have also decided to include security cameras, modifications to the clerk’s counter and a new office carpet in the project, but Romano said those additional costs haven’t been estimated yet.

The village will be borrowing the money. Bids are expected to be solicited and the construction done this year.

The board also set a public hearing on the proposed 2013-14 village budget for 7:15 p.m. Monday, April 8, at Village Hall. The $3.8 million spending plan calls for a 1.56 percent property tax increase.

“The increase is reasonable, fair and affordable,” the mayor said.

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