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From the Supervisor: Why move town hall?

COLUMN

The Town Board continues to evaluate the village’s offer to move into the former fire department apparatus bays. One resident recently asked me why I think a move is necessary. It may not be necessary, but I think it’s the right thing to do. I was part of the village transition from Genesee Street to Fennell Street. As an-able bodied individual, I hadn’t thought about the difficulties in the former village dffice but that was also three floors. A government office serves the public and the town hall poses barriers to those with disabilities and limitations. At town hall, we have to be cautious in scheduling meetings because our conference room is on the second floor and, depending on the attendees, we sometimes don’t have the option of using that room. Fortunately our staff is physically able to access the document storage area in the basement but that might not always be true. Our planning and zoning office is up a flight of stairs on the second floor. The entries and bathrooms are not handicap accessible. The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was enacted more than 20 years ago, is premised on providing full access to public facilities and accommodations.

In addition to the ADA concerns, Skaneateles has long been deficient in our court facilities. Our current configuration does not promote safe separation and flow for those scheduled for a hearing. We need to provide privacy for juvenile offenders. There are other safety issues such as the windows in the court room. We can do better.

For much of the year it’s difficult to find a parking space in the municipal parking lot. Jim Buff wrote us a letter and asked that if we move to make sure there is ample parking. I agree, Jim. We need to ensure that there’s parking for staff and parking for those who have business to transact.

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Comments

if 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Mary - as Town Supervisor you should first be undertaking a feasibility study before you make a decision. You don't know the costs, the adequacy of space, the long term financial implications, the value of the existing building, the costs to install an elevator in the existing building, the benefit of moving the court to join Marcellus in a shared location, etc., etc..

Your concerns regarding ADA compliance are questionable. The new Village Hall is not ADA compliant. The design documents done by Architect Connie Brace were ADA compliant. Mayor Hubbard deleted the push button ADA compliant automatic door opening device. This fact has been confirmed by Jim Lanning.

I suggest a feasibility study be completed by an unbiased individual as a starting point.

Please stop lobbying and start leading.

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