Dalton Lift Still in Limbo; ADA Picnic Tables Coming

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — The lift for Town Hall has run into a conflict, Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator Alyssa Maschino informed the committee on Thursday. 
According to Hill Engineering, Town Hall could install a vertical lift in the Police Department's closet and go up into the town account's office. However, no one wants to give up the closet or office, she said. 
The lift has been out of service since December because of safety concerns. In the meantime, people with disabilities can use the lift in the library to access the town hall. 
Previous attempts by Garaventa Lift to repair it have been unsuccessful. 
Replacing it in the same location is not an option because the new weight limit requirement went from 400 pounds to 650 pounds. Determining whether the current railings can hold 650 pounds is outside the scope of Garaventa's services to the town. 
According to a Garaventa Lift representative, a new lift in the same location can be installed, but the railings need to be replaced, committee Chair Patrick Pettit said. 
Committee member David Wasielewski asked if Hill Engineering considered installing an elevator on the outside of the building.
Maschino said it has been a thought, and she will ask Hill Engineering for the paperwork so the committee can review design options. 
Pettit said a project like that could cost up to $2 million, which would be a hit to the taxpayers. 
Once everything is finalized, the town could apply for the Municipal ADA Improvement Grant next year to address the lift issues, which could cost up to $250,000. 
"In order to determine an accurate cost estimate for applications, we encourage applicants to reach out to qualified consultants to obtain a [request for proposals] prior to applying, or shortly thereafter," the application description said. 
This year, the committee is applying for the grant in an effort to get accessible countertops and buttons for the assessors, clerk and tax collectors' offices. 
The committee has until June 14 at 5 p.m. to apply for the Municipal Ada Improvement grant. 
Committee members noted that the more initiatives the committee undertakes, the better its chances of getting the grant again next year for the lift. 
The assessor's office has a setup that could work because the current table flips out and is wheelchair accessible, but measurements would need to be made to see if the counters in the room have clearance, Pettit said. 
In addition to that, the assessor's office doesn’t get as much traffic as the tax collector and clerk's offices
The tables in the tax collector and clerk offices would need to be completely redesigned. If approved for the grant, the committee could use the funds to purchase the tables from Massachusetts Correctional Industries at no cost to the towns. 
The doors for these offices are heavy, and it is a struggle for someone in a wheelchair to get in, Maschino said. 
Attendee Chad Cornwell recommended that they look into getting the buttons from New England Door Closers. 
In other news, the seven ADA picnic tables purchased for $6,414.31 through Massachusetts Correctional Industries are projected to arrive by the end of May, Maschino said. 
The tables are covered by a grant but must be installed by June 30, the end of the fiscal year.
The round metal picnic tables have three seats with one open spot for wheelchair users. One will be at Greenridge Park, three at Pinegrove Park, two at Chamberland Park, and one at the library. 
Putting three at Pinegrove makes sense because it is used more, and that is where all the softball, baseball, and little league games take place, Pettit said. Greenridge is getting one because of slope issues.
During the annual town meeting, voters approved the purchase of a sidewalk and road paver, which will come in handy when installing the tables if the paver arrives before the installation, Maschino said. 

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Two People Shot in Downtown Pittsfield

iBerkshires.com Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Two people were shot and wounded near North Street on Friday in an incident police are saying is "not a random act," the Berkshire County District Attorney's Office said on Friday evening.
The victims were shot on Friday afternoon in the area of North Street and Bradford Street, according to a news release from the DA's office. Both were transported to Berkshire Medical Center, where they are being treated for their injuries.
The Pittsfield Police Department is investigating the shootings, the office said.
"Based on preliminary investigations, Pittsfield Police believe this was not a random act and that there is no immediate danger to the public," the news release reads. "However, as a suspect has not been identified, law enforcement encourages the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police."
It was the second reported shooting in the city this week. On Thursday, a city man was charged with murder in Tuesday's death of another Pittsfield resident on Fenn Street.
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