I am pleased to announce that I was contacted today by Mr. Thomas Hopkins - Executive Director of the Architectural Access Board - and was informed by him that the A.A.B. has “…granted the Town of Sturbridge variance relief to 521CMR Section 25.1 for the main entrance to the Center Office Building. Thus, we have now been approved to implement full access to the Center Office Building via the front doors, similar to that received two weeks ago for the Town Hall. This of course is welcomed news and brings closure to a nearly 3-year odyssey, which was sadly based upon inaccurate and incomplete information that has been associated with this issue since the inception of the renovation plans.
As previously stated in an earlier correspondence associated with the variance approval for the Town Hall, though this issue predates nearly all current members of the Board of Selectmen, it became our responsibility to rectify this issue once we became knowledgeable of its existence; to that end, there was uniform commitment among all members to have this issue corrected on "our watch". As such, I, as an individual member of the Board, extend my personal thanks to all members for the unanimity of resolve in bringing a successful conclusion to this challenge.
In addition, I extend my personal thanks to Executive Director Tom Hopkins for the proactive approach he took in addressing this issue on our behalf. His initial outreach, followed by a public meeting with the Board of Selectmen and his continued efforts in support of assembling and reviewing the required information prior to submission for determination by the Architectural Access Board provides a clear example of government at its best. Regardless of what the outcome may have ultimately been, Mr. Hopkins took the time to work with us and ultimately guided us to a successful conclusion. That said, I extend my thanks to Town Administrator Shaun Suhoski as well for working closely with Mr. Hopkins, while drafting, assembling, and presenting two variance requests that were viewed very favorably by the A.A.B. Shaun's efforts were commendable.
Moving forward, it is worth noting that the Board had previously instructed the Town Administrator to undertake the measures necessary to address the required hardware allowing for emergency access to the front of the Center Office Building and as that process is underway, we will soon be able to utilize same for all non-disabled access and egress.