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Dalton ADA Explores Replacing Town Hall Lift
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
05:06PM / Monday, September 18, 2023
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DALTON, Mass. — The Americans with Disabilities Act Committee is exploring how to replace the stair lift in Town Hall.
The town's current lift, located in the police station, is not always functional, ADA coordinator Alyssa Maschino told the committee last week. 
The committee intended on applying for a Municipal Americans with Disabilities Act Improvement grant to cover the cost of the replacement. 
However, the project was delayed because the current lift servicer, Garaventa Lift, informed the town that the new weight limit went from 400 pounds to to 650 pounds. 
With the new weight limit requirement, the town needs to determine if the current railings can hold 650 pounds, Maschino said. 
The grant proposal was due Friday, so the committee did not have time to complete the project's design and implementation required for the grant application. 
Maschino said she will be writing up an article for the town meeting in May for the design of the new lift. If the article passes, an architect engineer will determine if the installation of a new lift is feasible or if there is somewhere else the lift can be installed. 
She will call a local engineer to see if they can give an approximate price quote. 
Committee members also raised the possibility of adding an elevator to Town Hall rather than a lift. 
The prospect of adding an elevator was included in one of the Town Hall renovation designs but was removed when the Select Board voted to minimize the project's scope to reduce spending.
The committee will apply for an ADA Improvement Grant to cover the cost of a collapsible ramp for the police station, benches for three of the town parks and the library, and an alert system for the library.
The town has a 37 percent chance of being approved for the grant, committee member Lyn Clements said. If approved, the town could receive from $100,000 to upward of $250,000 for ADA improvement projects. 
The police station has run into instances where officers had to pick someone up in a wheelchair to carry them down the entrance stairs, Dalton's former building superintendent and ADA adviser Patrick Pettit said. The collapsible ramp can be stored at the station and taken out when someone needs to use it. 
Along with benches, the town could add in an accessible outdoor table. The end of the table extends outward so a wheelchair user can easily sit there, Pettit said. The town will have to look into how much it would cost to pour concrete at the parks so that the tables can be installed. 
The purchase of a half-dozen accessible benches would cost approximately $8,000 through Amazon, he said. 
An alert system for the library would inform staff when a wheelchair user needs assistance gaining access to the building since there isn't an automatic door system on the inside door, one committee member said. The system would be similar to a Ring camera. 
Pettit said he spoke to the library's Assistant Director Kim Gwilt and that she expressed liking the idea of installing an alert system. 
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