By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Proposed renovations to Lowellville City Hall are a matter of convenience, village officials say.
The second-floor auditorium in the East Liberty Street building, built in the mid-1930s by the Works Progress Administration, frequently is used for events — among them, monthly meetings of city council, the American Legion Lowellville Post 247 and the village’s senior citizens.
The building’s only public restrooms, however, are on the first floor, and they aren’t handicapped-accessible.
“There is a need for [restrooms] on the second floor,” said Bill Meehan, village administrator.
Until Friday, the village is accepting proposals for the construction of either one family restroom or two sex-specific restrooms in the building; the restroom or restrooms would be handicapped-accessible, and likely would be located at the south end of the auditorium.
In addition, the village is taking proposals for the construction of office space, also to be located on the building’s second floor.
This office space would replace the existing fire chief’s office, which is in the mayor’s secretary’s office and meeting room — and separated from it only by a few walls erected in the mid-2000s. The room previously was “all open,” Meehan said.
Meehan added that the new office space would require just the construction of three walls, and would occupy part of the auditorium’s stage. It would probably be about one-and-a-half times the size of the fire chief’s “tiny” first-floor office, he said.
Mayor James Iudiciani estimated the cost for the restrooms would be somewhere under $50,000, while the office space would run about $3,000. More specific numbers will be available after a proposal is selected by members of city council; if “everything goes right,” construction could begin as soon as late June or early July, Iudiciani said.
The village already has made several repairs to the building’s exterior, Iudiciani added, and also is looking into the possibility of grants or other funding to expand the fire and police departments’ presence at city hall.
This long-range plan would involve the building of new fire station bays on the west side of the building, and the police department’s taking over of the existing fire station on the east side of the building. The police department is now in a first-floor office.
Both departments are too cramped and need more room, Meehan said, but the time line for the project depends entirely on funding.
“It would be tomorrow if we got a grant,” he said.