Originally published Aug. 18, 2011
By Neil Schulman
Long Branch — A wheelchair lift will be installed at the west entrance to City Hall, and other changes will be made to make it more handicap accessible.
The project, which also will address the leaky basement, is estimated to cost around $465,000, and money has already been bonded for it.
At August 9th’s City Council Workshop, Tom Besold, a project architect with Design Ideas Group, outlined the plan to improve access to the building, saying the current ramp on the east side of the building is inadequate.
“By today’s standards, that ramp is too steep, and doesn’t comply with ADA standards. Actually, it probably hasn’t for 20 years,” he said.
City Administrator Howard Woolley said that earlier in the day he had seen problems with the ramp, when a man with a cane tried to visit the building and had trouble getting up the steep incline.
“He was hanging on to the ramp for deal life,” Woolley said.
While the city examined improving that ramp’s grade, they ultimately concluded it would be too complicated, since it covers heating and cooling equipment.
The west side of the building — the side where drivers pull in from Broadway — will instead get a lift, allowing wheelchair users and others who can’t manage stairs to get from the ground to the first floor of the building.
Some improvements will also be made to the parking lot and curbing, and doors will be widened. Handicap parking spots will be painted on that side of the building.
Besold said the drainage near the basement, where the police department is, would also be redesigned, and the deck above it waterproofed. Currently water frequently drains into the holding cells.
Numerous contractors have expressed interest so far, he said. “We have at least 10 bidders looking at this project,” he said.