CHICOPEE — Phase 2 of the City Hall renovation project may be starting soon with the discussion of one scope item that is part of the City Hall Phase 2 renovations project.

At the March 7 City Council meeting, Mayor John Vieau presented a Municipal American with Disabilities Act grant award for $66,990.

Chicopee has been working on modernizing City Hall through two phases of renovation.

After completing the first phase at the end of 2021, the schematic design for Phase 2 has been completed but has not been started yet.

Phase 2’s focus is on interior improvements, such as remodeled office suites, enhanced security and technology services and renovations to the City Council’s chamber on the fourth floor.

Vieau said that this specific grant will be used for a new vertical lift that complies with ADA/MAAB requirements and will serve as a connector bridge between the City Hall Annex and the City Hall main building.

“We have an antiquated lift system right now that takes you from our annex which was built in 1928 into the first floor of [City Hall] which was built in 1871. The current lift is inoperable and we can’t get parts for it,” Vieau added.

Department of Planning & Development Director Lee Pouliot further explained that if accepted by City Council, the grant must be expended by June 30 due to the funds being attached to the state fiscal year.

Pouliot explained, “The critical component here is there is a very short timeframe in which we have to spend this grant. This is state funding and it’s attached to the state fiscal years so if accepted, we will need to accelerate the speed of Phase 2 project as this work is integrated with a number of other trades that have work in that area.”

Pouliot also said he has received an updated budget for the entire Phase 2 project and said he hopes to be able to present those numbers to the mayor soon so that the city can work on finding funds.

If funds for the project are not finalized before the June 30 deadline, Pouliot added he would have to try to separate the lift replacement into its own separate project but there may not be enough time to do so.

“Right now, the lift is integrated into the scope of the Phase 2 project and that is because there’s a number of trades that need to do work to install the lift. We have a demolition entity who is going to demolish the existing stairs. A steel subcontractor needs to come in to do structural feel to reinforce the area where this will be going, then we have a different contractor who is going to build the new stairs and a fourth contractor who actually installs the lift,” Pouliot added.

Pouliot said he has reviewed the final layout plans with all the departments and made revisions based on staffing levels and added that the project is 100% designed and nearly ready to bid.

The City Council voted to send this motion to the Finance Committee for a meeting on March 14.

The Finance Committee approved the grant.

Pouliot said he is hopeful to move the entire project forward soon and have it presented to City Council.

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