SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 28, 2012

Handicapped-accessibility work starts at Beverly golf club

BEVERLY — The city has begun complying with state orders to make the Beverly Golf & Tennis Club clubhouse handicapped-accessible.

Workers have started installing two wheelchair lifts inside the clubhouse and reconstructing the wheelchair ramp outside the building.

The Massachusetts Architectural Access Board ordered the city last July to make the repairs after the board received a complaint from Manny Barros, the former operator of the city-owned club.

Barros told the board that there was no handicapped access to the second floor of the clubhouse, which has a function room for 150 people, and that the handicapped ramp was too steep and falling apart.

The access board gave the city until Dec. 31 to make the proper repairs or face fines of up to $1,000 per day. John Dunn, the city’s finance director who serves as the city’s liaison to the club, said the work will not be finished until April, but he does not expect the city to be fined for missing the deadline.

“These are the repairs we were planning on doing anyway before somebody dropped a dime on us,” Dunn said.

Officials from the Architectural Access Board did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Mary Margaret Moore, executive director of the Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann, said it’s important that the city make the required repairs. Her agency has been notified by the Architectural Access Board of the violations.

“If the ramp is not at the right pitch, then people are going to be hurt, even someone pushing a baby carriage,” Moore said. “That’s why we have these carefully thought-out regulations.”

The city has been in violation of accessibility laws since 2003, when it spent $400,000 on repairs to the clubhouse. When an owner spends more than 30 percent of the value of a building on repairs, the building must be brought into compliance with accessibility laws, according to the Architectural Access Board.

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