By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- They'll be tearing up the sidewalk soon in front of the Mahoning County Courthouse.
County commissioners have authorized construction of a parking area for physically disabled people. There will be enough room to park two vehicles in the specially designated area on Market Street, just north of Front Street.
Commissioners are accepting bids from contractors now and hope to have the project completed by the end of September. "It's a priority project for us," said county Administrator Gary Kubic.
In December, commissioners hired E.S. Jakubick & amp; Associates of Cortland to design the curb cut required for the project, at a cost of $6,800.
Commissioners have heard complaints over the years from disabled people about the lack of accessible parking spaces at the courthouse, which makes it difficult for them to visit the building.
Kubic said the new spaces will be cut far enough into the sidewalk that vehicles will be completely off Market Street, giving their occupants plenty of room to get in and out safely.
Location: Richard Malagisi, facilities manager, said the parking spaces will be near an accessible door on Front Street, on the south side of the courthouse, so people won't have to go far once they get out of their vehicle.
That door currently is locked and can only be opened from the inside by a deputy sheriff. For security reasons, entrance to the building is restricted to the front door on Market Street, except in special circumstances.
Disabled people who want to enter through the door on Front Street, where there is a wheelchair ramp, have to ring a bell outside and wait for a deputy to let them in. That's a problem during bad weather, he said.
That will be changed as part of the curb cut project, Malagisi said. The exterior doors on Front Street will be unlocked so people can get into the building and out of the weather.
Once inside, visitors will have to ring a bell to summon deputies, who will let them in through an interior door.
"At least that way, people will be able to get inside and out of the weather instead of waiting out there in the rain or snow," Malagisi said.