County hopes to reopen Hamilton vote center

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At its Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 2-0, a bid for $8,770 from APH Construction to build additional storage space in the Moffat County Public Safety Center garage.

It was the low bid submitted.

• Approved, 2-0, a proclamation declaring the week of July 26 as Disability Awareness Week, and July 31 as Disability Awareness Day.

- Commissioner Tom Gray was absent.

Moffat County officials want to reopen the Hamilton vote center in time for the November election after closing it last year because it did not meet federal handicap access requirements.

The Moffat County Commission voted, 2-0, to sign an application Tuesday for an $18,450 grant available through the Help America Vote Act to renovate the Hamilton Community Center and make it more handicap accessible.

"They were very upset," said Lila Herod, Moffat County chief deputy clerk and recorder, about Hamilton's roughly 125 registered voters after the vote center closed in May 2008. "But, the grant is in the mail."

She added that she hopes to hear whether the application is approved in the next few weeks.

That would enable the county to finish construction work by October, in time for the vote center to reopen for this year's election.

The county plans to build a new ramp on the building's north side to replace the existing ramp, which is too steep to meet requirements established by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Crews also will build a new entrance on the building's south side, as well as replace the front door on the west side that faces Colorado Highway 13.

The main entrance threshold is too steep for federal standards and will have to be lowered.

County officials coordinated with several groups before the application could be submitted, which is why the project took as long as it did to reach this point, Herod said.

The front of the Community Center is too close to Colo. 13 for the county to build anything out, such as a ramp, without encroaching on the state's road easement.

There also were legal issues to discuss with outside agencies, and the U.S. Post Office located next door had to be involved because the Community Center's new access ramp will stretch to its handicap parking space.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com.

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