By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Plans to add a lift at the London Community Center are finally getting off the ground.
Earlier this year, the city received a grant from the Ohio Department of Development’s Housing and Community Partnership to make the center more handicap accessible.
Originally, the idea was to install a limited-use ramp and elevator combination near the main entrance where stairs make it difficult or impossible for disabled persons to access the gym. That idea stalled, however, when the city couldn’t find sources to provide reliable cost estimates and plans for the project, said Steve Hume, safety-service director.
Local engineer Chuck Duvall stepped in and came up with an alternate solution that will provide greater accessibility than the initial plan.
“Chuck has kids in our recreation programs. He took a personal interest in the project and found other options,” Hume said.
Now, the plan is to install a lift on the back side of the building, using existing structural elements. The added bonus: it will provide access not only to the gym level, but also to the basement. The lift the city plans to purchase is rated to carry a maximum of 750 pounds.
“Really, it’s for no more than two people at a time. It’s designed for one person in a wheelchair and one person assisting them,” Hume said.
The cost of the project is estimated at $48,000. The grant will cover $36,000, and the city will pick up the other $12,000. The city’s share will come from a fund set aside specifically for maintenance and improvements at the community center. Money for the fund came from rental payments made by London City Schools while the district transitioned to its Route 38 campus.
As first outlined, the grant required that the project be finished by Dec. 31, 2013. The city applied for and received an extension and now has until the end of June 2014 to complete the work. Hume said the city plans to move on the project as soon as possible.
With the lift and the increased accessibility, the community center will be more marketable and versatile, Hume said. More people will be able to attend recreation events and take classes offered at the center. The facility will be more appealing to prospective renters, whether they are groups looking for space to hold events or businesses looking for long-term office space. It also will be helpful should the city eventually move its offices to the building.
The London Community Center is located on South Walnut Street. For information on events and activities at the center or rental details, call the city administrative offices at (740) 852-3243.