Commissioners approve new handicap doors for courthouse
Remaining funds from two Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grants will soon increase handicap access to the Putnam County Courthouse.
Putnam County Clerk Marty Watts went before the county commissioners Monday morning, receiving approval for the installation of handicap accessible doors on the east side of the courthouse.
The $6,500 price tag will be drawn from HAVA funds the county has received in recent years. Last month Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced the second of two $5,000 HAVA grants to Putnam County.
Accessibility company Inclusions Solutions will do the work, with the possible installation before the end of August.
The courthouse already has a handicap door on the building's south side, but Watts thought the location was odd considering the handicap parking spaces and ramp are along Indiana Street on the east side.
"We've had a lot of complaints -- people thinking they're coming to a handicap door and they're not," Watts said. "It's definitely going to be a great improvement having it on the east side."
The new system will feature two swinging doors operated by a pair of wall-mounted buttons.
Watts believes with an election-day polling place in the courthouse, as well as 30 days of absentee voting in the building, the improvement will greatly increase accessibility.
It should also help year-round accessibility for disabled citizens, deliverymen and anyone else coming to the courthouse with their arms full.
Watts has already used some of the HAVA money to purchase signs for polling places throughout the county.
"I actually had a lot more money left in that fund than I thought I would," she said.
The clerk praised local company Endless PossibiliTees for providing the signs at a savings of $2,000-$3,000 compared to other vendors.
"When they say 'buy local,' there are definitely reasons for that," she said.
Looking at the remaining money, Watts saw the lasting impact of increased accessibility as an easy choice.
"I thought, I may as well do something that will be more permanent," Watts said.