The building, built in 1909, is a registered historic landmark and in need of upgrades to make it compliant with new rules concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act.
City staff members were originally seeking to spend up to $40,000 for redesigning a new trellis, performing porch upgrades and creating permanent handicap accessible ramps. They also expressed interest in addressing the concrete work around the outside of the building.
“We need to open our wallets more and do this right,” Councilwoman Deborah Novelli said, noting the building’s upgrades as a top priority. Councilman Dominic Farinha agreed with Novelli.
“When we do this, we need to do this right,” he said. “We need to get professional input for designs.”
Farinha suggested that the city should utilize light-up crosswalks that lead to the center building, much like the crosswalks in Modesto near Modesto Junior College. He hopes the light-up mechanism may be a useful safety installation for frequent speeders within the plaza.
“Some people are treating the circle like it is the Autobahn,” he said.
Farinha also asked staff to look into the cost of a new fire suppression system that is completely devoid of water in order to preserve artifacts while simultaneously putting out the fire.
As of now, one of the ramps leading into the historic building is a temporary ramp, while the curbs and concrete ramps leading to sidewalks from the street do not have the correct slope for ADA compliance.
The building’s porch also needs to be raised six inches in order to meet compliance measures. In addition, the porch needs to be repaired to keep storm water from creating puddles and damaging the wood of the trellis, according to Ken Irwin, city engineer.
As far as funding goes, Novelli suggested the city look into federal and state grants to help pay for the needed upgrades.
Nick Rappley can be reached at 209-568-9975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.