Chatham may get lift from national status

CHATHAM–The Village Board last week discussed seeking bids for a lift at the Tracy Memorial Village Hall, a structure now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Installing the device, which could cost $40,000, would be a major step toward having the building comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition to the lift, the board’s January 14 meeting also saw Mayor Tom Curran appoint Gunnar Worden to fill the open seat on the board vacated by Adrienne Morrell last September. Mr. Worden will sit on the board until village elections March 15. He could choose to run for a full term at that time.

The village owns the Tracy Memorial but the Town of Chatham uses the second floor–currently accessible only by a stairway–as Town Court. The town has received an $18,000 grant to offset the cost of installing the lift; the village would have to pay the rest.

“We still need to come up with $22,000 and where does that come from?” Mayor Curran said at the meeting. He said he got a $35,000 estimate from a company installing a lift locally and the board assumes the full cost would be closer to $40,000 for a lift at the Tracy Memorial, since that project includes the removal of a railing and a radiator to make room for the lift.

In a related event, Mayor Curran announced by email after the meeting that the Tracy Memorial Village Hall has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. “This is great news, as it adds much credibility to our efforts to stabilize and restore the Tracy, and to improve accessibility to the second floor with an elevator and fire escape, and ADA compliant bathrooms for staff and visitors,” Mayor Curran wrote in the email.

The Village Board had said late last year that the building was under review for listing on the national register, and Mayor Curran said at last week’s meeting that he had talked to the architect who did a building study for the board. The mayor said the architect advised him that being on the National Register does not prevent the village from making non-structural changes to the building. “He just had some cautions for us,” Mayor Curran said.

The board will look into using funds from the Tracy Fund, an account set up to help maintain the building.

In other business this week:

  • The board discussed the new sidewalks on Woodbridge Avenue and along the road leading to the Chatham elementary and high school buildings. The sidewalks were funded as part of a Safe Route to School grant awarded to the village by the state in 2008. Work on the sidewalks started last fall and, according to Mayor Curran, is almost complete. He said that crews would be back in the spring to paint striping on the road and finish one of the corners on Woodbridge Avenue.

“It changes the whole entrance and the whole feel of the campus,” schools Superintendent Cheryl Nuciforo said at the meeting. She thanked the board for pushing the project through and pointed out that the sidewalks benefit the whole community

  • In discussing the need to replace a sewer pump Mayor Curran said there were about five or six pumps in the village that pump waste to the sewer plant. Some pump sewage from several homes, including the pump on Shore Road, and others serve individual homes.

Village Clerk Barbara Henry said that she would draft a letter to the residents and property owners who use the pumps and about what can go into the sewer system.

  • Ms. Henry said that the clerk’s office had over a dozen residents contact them about an increase in their water and sewer bills. She said that may have to do with new, more accurate meters being installed recently. Older meters, if they are not working right, run more slowly and indicate lower usage.

Ms. Henry also said, “We’ve had a couple of people with really high bills because they’ve had really big leaks.” She said the village Department of Public Works has responded to all the concerns.

The board will hold a special workshop meeting Thursday, January 28 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

 

 

 

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