Now, I am NOT saying that Suhoski had anything to do with the Town Hall problems in the town of Ayer he would later become Town Administrator of, or the issues with the ADA violations here in Sturbridge with our own town hall restoration while Suhoski has been Town Administrator. No, I won't say that at all.
It's just one of those strange, weird coincidences that make one think a bit, and wonder.
When you're done reading the article below, I wouldn't be surprised if you heard the "X Files" theme playing in your head.
(c) 2002 The Sun (Lowell, MA). All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
Access issue forces meetings from Town Hall
Moving meetings from the building temporarily is "a show of good faith" that the town wants to resolve the disagreement, said Selectman Connie Sullivan.
"Rather than force ourselves into a litigious situation, we decided that meetings would be held in the places where we know people can attend them," he said.
Most will be held in the lower public meeting room at the Ayer Public Library on East Main Street.
Complaints started coming in even before the old building at 1 Main St. was reopened. Numerous town residents and representatives from at least one state agency, the Massachusetts Office on Disability, have said the building is inaccessible to the handicapped.
In January, the U.S. Attorney's office began its own investigation. Results have not been made public.
Also in January, investigators with the Massachusetts Office on Disability listed several areas in which they said Town Hall was in violation of the law. Through meetings with the building's architect, most of those areas were found to be in compliance.
But some of the complaints prompted changes.
External double doors at the Columbia Street entrance originally opened into the building, but this week were reversed to open outward to the street.
A section of the ground floor's main corridor also was determined to be too steep. The general contractor, Paul J. Rogan Co. Inc., will reshape the concrete base to shave the angle of incline.
Additionally, both entrances to the Board of Selectmen's ground-floor meeting room have been configured to fit dimensions under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
State access codes only require one entrance per public meeting room to meet ADA-accessible definitions. But town Economic Development Director Shaun Suhoski said the meeting room's second entrance also has been modified to ADA widths.
"It does make more sense now, and it's a lot more functional," Suhoski said.
At the state level, the Attorney General's Office and the Architectural Access Board have enforcement power over ADA regulations.
Sullivan and other selectmen said the constant complaints are frustrating.
"We spent a great deal of money to make the building accessible. We didn't just want to throw some new paint on the walls," Sullivan said. "The thrust of all of these improvements is handicapped accessibility."
Hegarty said yesterday there is no litigation is pending.