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Village hall awarded $7K grant for handicap improvements

February 29, 2012 - Disabled voters are going to have an easier time heading to polls in the Village of Leonard thanks to a grant from the State of Michigan.

Rowland Hall (23 E. Elmwood) will be receiving two reimbursement grants worth approximately $7,144.95 for a new threshold ramp and to install automatic doors that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to Leonard Village President Mike McDonald, the automatic doors will have a push button on the inside and outside of the door that, when pushed, will automatically open the door.

He added the new automatic door would be wider than a normal door.

McDonald noted there was no set timetable for the installation, but said it would be installed by the August 8 primary.

"We want to make sure we have a good physical idea of what the door system is going to look like (and) how it will work," McDonald said. "The door supplier is working on that as we speak."

A threshold ramp would also be installed, but McDonald said he was not sure if the ramp was a permanent one or a temporary one based on the amount of grant money provided for the ramp.

"That is one of the vague things we are trying to work our way through right now," he said. "We intend to repair the thresholds with new cement, so that is one of the reasons we are getting clarification on what type of threshold ramp they are referring to."

McDonald and Addison Twp. Clerk Pauline Bennett were notified upgrades were needed via a letter from the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, an independent agency designed by the Governor of Michigan to advocate and protect the legal rights of voters with disabilities.

The letter stated upon review of Rowland Hall, problems were discovered with park ing, doors and the sidewalks in front of the building.

He noted the Village was going address the issues with the sidewalks and parking when they work on Elmwood this summer. The plan is to resurface at least two of the parking areas, if not the entire area, and work on the sidewalks.

"We have to make sure the width and the slopes are correct and that the parking area is accessible as well," McDonald said.

He said since the grant type is reimbursement, the Village of Leonard and Addison Twp. have to work together.

McDonald said the township received the grant and would be putting up the money for it since Rowland Hall is a registered voting site in Addison Twp.

"We really do have to work together to make sure the costs and everything are within the grant guidelines," he said.

He added the experience has been "a great example of a village and township working together."

"The Township Board of Addison really went out and worked with Pauline Bennett, myself and the Village Council to put this together," McDonald said. "We could not have done it independent of each other and the Village is very appreciative of it."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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