ADA-related comments welcomed
By Stephanie Johns
Madison Mayor Bruce Gilbert and members of the city council heard details of the city’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Monday night.
Madison City Planner Bryce Jaeck shared details about the city’s required ADA compliance. He noted that thus far they have received no public comment. The first draft of the city’s ADA plan is available for viewing and input is welcome.
He noted that their ADA plan requires that someone be named their ADA coordinator and compliance officer. This person will receive complaints. Jaeck said the council could hire a new person or have an existing staff member take on these responsibilities.
Most newer buildings generally are compliant, he said, so some of the ADA recommendations already have been incorporated. City Manager David Nunn said that the city has been making ADA improvements for the past two years or so.
As to older buildings, Jaeck said that the city may be able to argue in some cases that they are OK and in other cases that becoming compliant would be a “hardship.” For example, making an existing hiking trail wheelchair-accessible might pose a financial difficulty for the city.
Two other ADA questions the council will need to consider pertain to crosswalks.
“Can they get there safely and will it meet our requirements?” he said.
Jaeck said they have an October deadline for having an ADA plan in place but that he will see if they can get the city’s deadline moved to December to match the county’s deadline.
“They’re easy to work with on deadlines so long as we’re working toward it,” he said.
Council members decided to postpone further discussion until their next time together.
Regarding public service appointments, seats on several city groups were filled.
Dianne Yost and Kathi Russell were appointed to two-year terms on the Main Street Advisory Board.
Robert D. Crawford and Ed Latham were appointed to four-year terms on the Downtown Development Authority. The authority had four applicants to fill two positions so the council used paper ballots that were then tallied to determine which applicants would fill the positions.
Beth Fears was appointed to the Cemetery Stewardship Committee while city employee Ricky Jones was appointed to an ex officio, non-voting position.
Connie Booth was appointed to the Morgan County Planning Commission.
Jaeck shared a request from Oconee County for the council’s opinion on a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) known as Presbyterian Village, a 332-unit for seniors.
He shared that the $39 million project is now looking at a “PVC farm,” a location that has roads and utilities in place but no homes.
He recommended that the council offer no objection because the project will use existing facilities instead of building new and also will encourage alternative transportation.
Callahan shared details about the $50,000 Gateway Grant that the city has received to install vegetation and aesthetic improvements at the intersection by Rite Aid, Lowe’s, Walmart, and Chick-fil-A.
Nunn gave his report about upgrades. He said that the water treatment upgrades, Indian Creek facility upgrades, and railroad crossing upgrades are complete. The city will be responsible for raising the power and phone lines at the Jefferson Street crossing.
Residential waste carts have been delivered and 300 pieces of equipment have been ordered to retrofit meters to make them radio-read.
Asbestos has been removed from two properties: the blue house and the dry cleaners. The city will now send a notice to the EPD and the buildings will soon be gone.
Nunn shared that the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center has shown interest in incorporating a 19th century Winship & Brothers cotton gin into its permanent collection. He said that Mr. Farmer of North Augusta, S.C. gave the gin to the city about two years ago because Madison used to be the site of the gin’s manufacturer.
“It’s a unique part of our history,” he said, adding that he will bring back a proposal from the center to the council for its consideration.
Callahan told those present about the city’s certification for a Revitalization Area Strategy (RAS) for its Urban Redevelopment Area (URA). The certification gives the city preferential grant status.
“I’m thrilled,” she said. “It’s a big deal.”
She noted that Sandy Sanford is ready to go forward with his 60-unit senior living facility and will need a PRD for it.
As to the newly acquired Gilmore property on Burney Street, there are four interested parties/potential tenants and that she has identified one more grant opportunity as well.
An eight- to 10-member team from BoomTown will visit the city next week and meet with a five-member local team to consider properties and conduct a feasibility study.
The BoomTown team will then make a public presentation from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 31 in the Morgan County Planning and Development Conference Room.
Madison will serve as the pilot small city for a start-up project that will create a “one-stop shopping list of the community’s assets.”
City accountant Karen Guinn shared details about the city budget as it pertains to its purchase of the house at 473 Burney St. as well as sales of cemetery funds. The money from the cemetery lot sales was moved to its own fund.
Printed in the October 11, 2012