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Council OKs new Disabilities Act plan

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ARTESIA — Tuesday night the Artesia City Council gave the OK for an Americans with Disabilities Act transition plan.

“The last one took place in August of 2011,” said Jim McGuire, community development director.

He said the state required the city of Artesia to update it again. So he and building inspector Don Plotner went and visited all government facilities owned and maintained by Artesia’s city government.

“That’s where we decided that CASA of Eddy County needed a new place,” McGuire said. “Because there was no way we could justify the cost to make that building ADA compliant.”

The former location was at 405 S. Second St. Recently, they moved into a new facility and right now McGuire said the old location is locked up and a future demolition will be likely.

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“So we added some additional facilities that weren’t on the original plan,” he said.

CASA’s new location is on 605 W. Main St.

McGuire said improvements have also been made to some restrooms and handicap parking signs have been placed on some associated city parking lots.

Infrastructure Director Byron Landfair also did some work, according to McGuire.

“Byron went over the intersections where the handicap ramps are needed,” he said.

McGuire added, “that’s our plan that’s before you.”

District 1 councilor Raul Rodriguez told McGuire of a question he got from an Artesia resident asking about parking at the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center.

“There is a handicap parking spot at the museum,” McGuire said. “Because of the historical structure, they do not need to make it ADA compliant.”

The museum is more than a century old.

McGuire said the new annex offers a video presentation on what’s in the museum and he added that the facility meets ADA requirements.

District 3 councilor Jeff Youtsey said some target dates for things that need to be fixed are decades down the road. He asked McGuire to explain how money for the projects works.

“On the buildings, if we own the buildings, we need to make them ADA compliant,” McGuire said. “If we lease the building, like where planning is, we have to make it ADA compliant; if we own a building that is leased to an organization like 7024U (youth program), we have to make it ADA compliant. It’s a two-edged sword for us.”

Regarding street intersections, McGuire said the city isn’t required to make them ADA compliant, “unless there is new construction.”

“Part of my point is there is actually an ADA fund that we receive monies from the federal government to do these projects,” Youtsey said.

“I don’t know what the feds require,” McGuire said. “But the state Department of Transportation, the federal funds that they oversee, they’re saying, ‘you have to have your plan in place if you expect any funds.’”

Once the discussion ended the council passed the plan.