L to R: City Clerk Donna Kinville, Councilor Chris Shaw, Secretary of State Jim Condos, Council Chair Pam MacKenzie, Councilor Pat Nowak, and Councilor Helen Riehle participate in the City Hall ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, April 18.

City Hall Makeover: ADA-Compliant Front Entry, Phase One Renovations Complete

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Thursday April 25, 2013

For anyone who has had difficulty entering City Hall in the past, a solution is now in place; a new handicap accessible front entry is officially installed and being put to good use.

Secretary of State Jim Condos joined City Councilors, Assistant City Manager Bob Rusten, City Engineer Justin Rabidoux, City Clerk Donna Kinville, Project Coordinator Ilona Blanchard, representatives of Breadloaf Construction and Arnold & Scangas Architects, in celebrating the voter accessible, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant entrance with a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, April 18.

Councilor Pam Mackenzie provided a public thank you to all those involved and stated that “we’re doing the right thing” by providing an entrance more accessible to the people of South Burlington.

Secretary of State Jim Condos--who, according to Kinville, postponed his plans to go to the White House in order to celebrate this event--approved a $15,000 Help America Vote grant which helped spearhead the project.

Condos was a former City Councilor from 1989-2007 and recalled a need for renovation.

“I’m pleased to see changes happen,” he said. “I’m really excited about this, and I’m excited for the city.”

The total cost of the entrance was $31,000. City Council approved the remainder of the cost after the grant was approved.

A more welcoming entrance is just one of the few renovations City Hall has undertaken. The City recently installed a new HVAC system in place of the old mercury thermostats. If this had not been resolved sooner and the thermostats had failed, there would be no solution since the parts are now deemed illegal to be shipped into Vermont.  About $73,000 of the $85,500 Energy Efficient Community Block Grant awarded in 2009 went toward the project.

Additionally, staff in the City Manager Department (i.e. Finance, Human Resources, Special Projects, Community Development) are enjoying their new space. The department has been relocated to a newly renovated office space on the second floor where the old police station resided. New carpeting and windows, fresh paint, and a few wall replacements attribute to the new atmosphere staff is able to enjoy, but their move has also provided more room for the Planning and Zoning and Recreation Departments.

The entryway, HVAC system, and the second floor renovations comprise Phase One of City Hall’s makeover. Residents can expect Stormwater improvements, better signage, and a repaved parking lot to be among other aesthetic and functional upgrades.

Funds for these projects derived from various grants in addition to FY 13 General Fund budgeted expenses, $40,000 that 2012 Council put into the Reserve Fund, and money from the Contingency line, Rusten reported.

SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent