New entrance in works for local offices
>Wilton Town Hall to receive upgrades for ADA compliance
WILTON – The entry to the town offices could be made ADA compliant next year.
The access from Main Street isn’t level and doesn’t meet the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act, and are a problem for people in wheelchairs.
The door opens onto the sidewalk over a granite threshold, with a drop of a few inches to a sloping sidewalk.
On Monday, July 25, selectmen met with architect Alison Meltzer to discuss a redesign of the entry and renovation of the northern end of Town Hall, the former Police Department, into more usable offices and storage space.
Meltzer said the plan is make the access flat onto a level landing. That landing would extend to the south in front of the granite steps beside the building, "The Town Hall Steps," and then extend downward into the parking spaces.
The area is complicated by the steps, which lead up to Maple Street, a crosswalk and a speed bump on Main Street, and an island separating the parking spaces from the sidewalk in front of Town Hall.
In 2014, voters at Town Meeting approved $10,500 for the renovations, which would include an automatic door.
Because of the changes in the design, Selectman Chairman Kermit Williams said the plan would have to return to Town Meeting for approval. In the meantime, he suggested the plan be completed and costs obtained.
He noted, as with all old buildings, "There is no simple solution."
Town Hall was built in 1875. Selectman Dan Donovan noted it is "hazardous," especially when snow slides from the roof.
"All of these problems need to be resolved," Meltzer said.
Her preliminary redesign of the old police station includes offices for the building inspector and town assessor, a conference room and several storage areas. That section of the building is entered through a door to the left of the main entrance, which leads to the Town Hall Theater.
Her plan also changes the storage rooms behind the courtroom into a new office for the soon-to-hired town administrator.
"It looks great so far," Williams said, but it was decided that another look should be taken at storage space – "how things are stored, the cabinetry" – since the town is required to keep so many official records in paper form for many years.
Meltzer will continue work on the plan.