Making Wheelock More Accessible

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Wheelock Grant ThumbnailWHEELOCK- Wheelock's Town Hall has been lacking something for a long time. There is no handicapped accessibility to the building, which poses a big problem.It's something that they've known is a problem for a while, and are now taking action to change it. They were awarded a Vermont Community Development Block grant in 2015, and now have a proposal to fix the problem.

 "The town clerk's offices are in the basement, and there's no access," said Town Manager Carol Rossi. "Even on Town Meeting Day, some need to go home early because there are no handicapped accessible restrooms. We don't meet the (American Disability Association's) requirements and standards to provide services to all of our citizens."

The proposal was submitted by a local architect, Black River Design, and chosen by the Town Hall Committee.

"This proposal puts a small addition on the rear of the building that provides stairways to the basement that's up to the code, a lift to the basement, and two handicapped accessible restrooms," said Rossi.

And tonight, the public will get a chance to voice their opinions on the proposal. At 6 p.m. at Town Hall, there will be a meeting for public input on the project. If everything checks out, the proposal will then be voted on by Australian ballot on March 6th, Town Meeting Day.

Looking ahead to the future, if the proposal passes on Town Meeting Day, Rossi expects there to be a significant gap between then and when the construction will start.

"The Town of Wheelock is a town of working people. We really have to be considerate of the tax rate and the impact on taxes. So we have to have grant support and grant funding for us to do this project."

Rossi also added that because of this, she has already applied for a USDA grant, and plans to apply for another Vermont Community Development Block grant to help pay for the project.

She also anticipates that the construction will not begin until 2019.