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County eases building access
Many of the smaller projects to get Glynn County in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act have been completed, costing the county $385,000 to date.

In some instances, the work was simply a matter of restriping some parking lot spaces to specific requirements to accommodate handicapped parking or making sure bathrooms were in compliance with federal standards.

But with a November 2014 deadline to complete the work as part of an agreement with the Department of Justice, it's time to start tackling the more complicated and expensive work, the county's finance committee members were told at Tuesday's meeting.

And it's not just modifications to county structures that were required as part of the agreement.

Becky Rowell, assistant county administrator and public works director, said the county is also responsible for ADA compliance at churches and public schools that serve as polling places, as well as making changes to the county's website and having sign language and foreign language interpreters on retainer, if their services are requested for public meetings or court appearances.

Rowell estimated it could cost as much as $2 million to bring the county into compliance by the deadline.

The paperwork to show the county has completed the work requires photographs proving the work completed is in compliance with federal standards.

County commissioner and finance committee member Allen Booker said the county has no choice but to do the work. "These were hard-fought laws," he said. "There is a reason for this."

Much of the remaining work will be done at county parks, the new courthouse and a fire station. Construction plans are sent to the Department of Justice for approval before work begins, Rowell said.

Finance committee members voted unanimously to recommend approval to raise the price of firewood at Blythe Island Regional Park, to offer season passes that would be good at the three county-run swimming pools and to make crosswalk improvements in high traffic areas on St. Simons Island.

The pedestrian crosswalk work on St. Simons Island would include a rapid flashing beacon system similar to the one on Parkwood Avenue at Southeast Georgia Health System's hospital in Brunswick. The system would replace the in-roadway pedestrian crosswalk lights at the intersections of Demere Road at the Frederica Road roundabout and on Demere Road north of East Beach Causeway.

"This is a much safer approach and it can be maintained at a much cheaper cost," said county commissioner and finance committee member Dale Provenzano.

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about government and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 323.



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