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Complaint dropped against Lisbon chamber

LISBON — The handicapped-accessible complaint filed by a local resident against the Lisbon Area Chamber of Commerce has been dropped but the organization still intends to explore ways to comply.

Chamber Director Marilyn McCullough said Scott Bartholomew recently dropped the complaint he filed under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act last year because the chamber’s historic building on North Market Street was not handicapped accessible. She said he dismissed his complaint after speaking with the chamber president.

“He realized it was going to cost us quite a bit and reconsidered,” she said.

After the complaint was filed, the chamber retained the services of an architect to explore its options. They first explored installing a ramp at the front entrance but discovered there was not enough room on the sidewalk, and the doorway would also have to be widened.

The architect determined the viable solution would be to install an electric lift at a side entrance. McCullough said the lift itself cost $5,000 to $7,000 but replacing the old wiring drove the price up to $12,000 to $15,000. The chamber generally carries a $5,000 annual balance.

McCullough said Bartholomew’s willingness to drop the complaint buys them time to begin saving money and exploring other funding options. “We’re still going to try to find a way to make it happen. It’s just going to be a significant cost,” she said.

Meanwhile, the chamber told Bartholomew anytime he wants to attend a meeting or event they would be willing to accommodate him by moving it to another location that is handicapped accessible. They did that before, moving several Landmark Foundation meetings to the Lepper Library, but he never showed up. The Landmark Foundation is a committee of the chamber focused on preserving local historic buildings.

Bartholomew, who lives outside of town, needs a scooter to get around and describes himself on his Facebook page as an MS activist. He lodged a verbal complaint in May with the village of Lisbon because the Sadie Van Fossan swimming pool was not handicapped accessible. Village Council discussed purchasing a pool lift for $4,000 but no action has been taken yet.

tgiambroni@mojonews.com

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