A planned $45,000 project to upgrade parking facilities at the Andy Griffith Playhouse was delayed Thursday afternoon by concerns related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners appeared ready to approve that expenditure to pave the lot at the playhouse, the first such work there in about 30 years. The parking area that also serves patrons of the Andy Griffith Museum has been plagued by potholes and cracked pavement.
But the vote was postponed after city officials discussed a recent contact with them by Executive Director Tanya Jones, of the Surry Arts Council, which operates programs at the playhouse that is city government-owned.
As explained by Mayor David Rowe during Thursday’s council meeting, Jones expressed support for delaying the resurfacing of the lot so that further study can be done to ensure it also is ADA-compliant.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, which became law in 1990, is a civil rights measure that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including their access to all public and private places that are open to the general public.
According to the mayor, Jones is suggesting that a complete re-design of the parking facilities might be needed to not only include new pavement but other changes to meet ADA requirements.
“I don’t really know all the issues of the ADA,” city Public Works Director Jeff Boyles said regarding what might be required.
“It could be the slope” of the lot, he speculated, or maybe there is a need for a direct pathway from it to the playhouse and museum to accommodate disabled individuals, and possibly railing installation.
There was confusion Thursday afternoon about whether or not such ADA requirements pertain to the lot in existence for many years.
Boyles said it was his understanding that those regulations applied only when existing facilities are being “substantially refurbished,” or if a new one is being constructed.
“That’s my understanding as well,” City Attorney Hugh Campbell said.
The uncertainty over the situation prompted the commissioners to delay awarding a $40,704 contract for the repaving work to Carl Rose & Sons, an Elkin company that submitted the low bid among four firms vying for the job. The total funding allocation eyed for the project is $45,000, which includes contingency money for unforeseen problems.
“I’d like for Jeff to approach Tanya,” Commissioner Steve Yokeley said of having Boyles meet with Jones to determine exactly what is involved.
The board voted to postpone the paving action to its next meeting on April 19 and to direct Boyles to have answers regarding the ADA standards at that time.
This delay will not cause an expiration of the bid received from Carl Rose & Sons, based on Thursday’s discussion.
Brinkley questions plan
Along with the Americans with Disabilities Act issue, Commissioner Shirley Brinkley was concerned Thursday about the resurfacing project now on the table.
Brinkley focused on plans to install two inches of asphalt on the lot, along with re-striping the facility.
“Two inches seems a little thin for a 30,000-pound bus,” she said of frequent visitation to the playhouse complex by school groups.
But Boyles replied that this total has been applied to other public parking lot projects in the city recently, including ones at Reeves Community Center and beside Old North State Winery.
“It’s pretty much the same amount,” said the public works director, who pointed out that this level of asphalt also is used on streets.
Boyles said two inches of pavement is more than what is at the playhouse now.
The contract specifications also call for milling and removing all existing asphalt due to extensive cracking in the lot. This would be done before the repaving to keep the cracks from reflecting through to the surface in the future.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.