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Council Agrees to Graydon Ramp Design

Dubbed "Option 1," the council voted 3-2 to construct a handicap ramp at Graydon Pool to meet a "moral and legal" imperative.

In yet another 3-2 vote, the Ridgewood Village Council on Wednesday selected a design for a controversial ramp at Graydon Pool with hopes of completion before the summer season.

Having secured $55,000 in funds from a county grant, the council majority – Mayor Paul Aronsohn, Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli and Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck – said "Option 1" (see schematics on the right) was the way to go.

The design – shorter, with less concrete and a lighter cost than the alternative, "Option 3" – is expected to come at a cost less than $40,000 for the village.

The discussion on Wednesday was largely a rehashing of past council chats – and there have been many over the last several years. Preserve Graydon Coalition member Sally Brandes took aim squarely at Aronsohn, Pucciarelli and Hauck.

Brandes claimed the handicap ramp, 40 feet in length, might help those in wheelchairs but did little to nothing for those using canes, walkers and who might have other disabilities.

She lobbed a few ethics grenades as well, accusing Deputy Mayor Pucciarelli of purposely excluding other public officials from an informal meeting he set up.

Pucciarelli said three council members could not attend the informal pow-wow – which included experts and several residents – without requiring public notice, and refused to apologize for "educating" himself on the issues.

Option 1 was poorly received by Councilman Tom Riche and Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh.

The pair expressed concern for potential safety hazards associated with "Option 1." The ramp will clear into the spillway, where leaves and other debris are deposited. If constant maintenance is not performed, it could be a slip-and-fall hazard, the dissenting council members said.

Walsh favored Option 3, considered to be more aesthetically pleasing of the two designs, which would have avoided the spillway.

Either way, a plan by January was needed to fulfill ADA requirements, though construction wasn't.

Riche had other misgivings on the ramp question.

With Hurricane Sandy costs forthcoming – and in the shadow of larger budget woes – the councilman said he didn't feel it was a good financial investment.

Walsh, meanwhile, disagreed with Pucciarelli's claims that those in wheelchairs being deposited into 27 inches of water was not problematic. "They'll still need to pass the deep water test," Walsh said. Many will be able to pass, but many likely won't, she said.

The council majority stuck to their guns, voting lock-step.

The trio of Pucciarelli, Hauck and Aronsohn said the construction of the handicap ramp was a moral imperative. Although imperfect, it provides more access than is currently at Graydon and meets ADA requirements, they said. Down the line they'll explore handicap bathrooms and access into the facility.

"This is the start, not the end of our ADA activities at the pool and other facilities," Pucciarelli said. "This should not be construed as the last that we'll ever hear about accessibility at Graydon."

The hope, for some council members anyway, is the ramp will be unveiled in time for the June season at Graydon.

News Man December 06, 2012 at 07:01 PM
For a "Moral and Legal" imperative project, getting only 3 of 5 votes sounds little luke warm to me? Perhaps, because this 50 year old Graydon Pool (partial design) solution does not meet the expectations of those lost 4,500 Pool members that must share in the cost. They and others that still seek a Graydon Modernization that can meet the financial solutions and expectations of knowledgable Swimming and Recreation enthusiasts. It's time to get back to the drawing board and design that type of recreation facility that will get 100% of the Council and the Village residents that would support such a design.
Anne LaGrange Loving December 07, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I applaud the Council for addressing the needs of the physically challenged who would like to use Graydon. This is the first step toward total access for all and I fully support it. Thank you. However........Mayor Aronsohn is pushing hard for a zero-percent increase in taxes/budget for next year. So why wasn't the ramp project restricted to the $55,000 that the grant is providing? Why was a $40,000 un-budgeted expense approved by him? With layoffs being a possible part of the zero-increase budget for next year, I would think that $40,000 could go a long way toward saving one job for one year. Surely there would have been some way to devise an access system that would have cost "only" $55K.
Ellen Simpson December 07, 2012 at 01:42 PM
I don't understand how the town can justify spending ANY money on a facility used by so few. The "controversy" should not be about a ramp. It should be about the vision of a community pool acceptable to the majority of the community which it obviously isn't. I think the moral imperative is to reevaluate Graydon as a whole and use precious funds wisely. Any modern design would of course meet ADA requirements.
Lucy Rieger December 07, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Village Council- how lightly you take marring a 100 year old historic Ridgewood icon! Those before you have respected our history, and so we have preserved Graydon through generations. Your decisions today will scar our landmark and change our landscape. Graydon deserves a better solution- could you not wait? How easy it is to ruin with a vote. How hard it is to preserve with the right plan.
Fan of Ridgewood December 07, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I agree, Ellen. I remember hearing that Graydon was set to finish the summer season without its usual loss. Does anyone know if this happened?
Fan of Ridgewood December 07, 2012 at 05:03 PM
it's not an icon. It's a swimming hole and unpopular one at that. Handicapped people have a right to go in it. Even if people for the last 100 years said, "too bad if u cant jump in"
News Man December 07, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Click this LINK for an Udated ADA May 24, 2012 Requirement to better understand this problem. I hope it helps our readers here: Click here: http://www.ada.gov/pools_2010.htm it should be OK...
News Man December 07, 2012 at 08:41 PM
PS: The Council should clarify what the consequences are if that Updated ADA May 24, 2012 is not complied with. Would Graydon be required to shut down then..? Perhaps, that would be a worthwhile solution, to allow time to get back to the drawing board.
sean mccooe December 07, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Over designed!over built! over time! and over budget !the community is not best served with this design. ADA compliance met ? Unintended consequences explored ?
News Man December 08, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Time for an emergency meeting to review the "unintendeed consequences". The closing of the this pool, to do some real long term planning is long overdue.
Ridgewood Mom December 09, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Bravo to the council for responsibly addressing the need to make Ridgewood better accessible.
News Man December 11, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Click this LINK on "Maintaining the Status Quo" Idyllic Pool Scene of Battle continues. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/07/nyregion/07towns.html?_r=1

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