Brentwood officials OK property purchase for firehouse elevator

Brentwood aldermen on Monday approved the city’s purchase of the property directly east of the firehouse, which will be used to add an elevator shaft onto the building and also handicap parking spots in order to make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The purchase cost of the property is $200,000.

City officials determined at the previous open meeting, on May 10, that the firehouse doesn’t comply with the ADA because there is no way for handicapped people to get to the second floor.

It needs to comply with the ADA because it is a publicly owned building, the city attorney said. In the first hearing all but one alderman voted to buy the property at 8746 Eulalie Avenue.

The aldermen took the second vote in a closed session, by staff recommendation. That vote was tied 4-4, and Mayor Chris Thornton broke the tie with a yes vote.

Terri Johnson, who oversees Brentwood facilities to see that they are ADA compliant, said anything built after 1992 by a local, state or federal government has to be ADA compliant, so a chairlift retrofit, which had been suggested, won’t work because the law was in effect when the firehouse was built. The St. Louis firm, Horner & Shifrin, was the contractor.

Alderman Andy Leahy asked why no red flags were raised when the elevator was pulled from the design, and both Johnson and now-chief Terry Kurten said they weren’t with the city at the time.

Kurten said that once the building is ADA compliant the department would be open to the meeting rooms being used for public uses, such as meetings for the library.

Kurten said they haven’t budgeted for the engineering and design work for a new elevator, and told Alderman Tom Kramer, so he can’t give an estimate for the cost or time-frame. He said the money is there in the 5-year capital plan.

Reported from Brentwood Youtube.

5 thoughts on “Brentwood officials OK property purchase for firehouse elevator

  1. Our Planning and Zoning folks should have caught this. The architect and the builders should have caught it too. Don’t blame this on Kelly and Seemeyer.

  2. am engineering and design firm that has built multiple fire houses leaves off an elevator or other access to make it ADA compliant? How did that happen? Seems like it is time to pull out the old minutes of meetings and see who was making the final decision to let it be built that way. If the design team left it out simply because they forgot it they should shoulder some of the responsibility. Then there is the entity that approved the plans without it meeting the requirements. And finally the city officials who signed off on the design. Several layers of folks who put their eyes on the plans and no one saw this item that was being omitted?

  3. It’s my understanding that Horner & Schifirin provided engineering and design on the Brentwood firehouse, another firm was the general contractor. A quick look and the H & S website reveals they designed firehouses for University City, Collinsville, O’fallon, Maryland Heights. I’d doubt they “forgot” to make the building H.C. compliant. Somebody made a decision to do so. Maybe the genius who’s name is in the cornerstone had something to do with that.

    A St. Louis Post Dispatch article from January 15, 2011 Brentwood Mayor Pat Kelly said of the new firehouse: “It was one of our top priorities to get this completed. It’s one of the top facilities in St. Louis County,”

  4. Fire Chief Terry Kurten said. “If we lose this opportunity to purchase this property, which can provide some benefit in several ways… and a new home is built on this lot, we’ll never have the opportunity to acquire that ground.”

    Let’s stop pretending this has anything to do with ADA compliance. It may or may not be a good idea for the city to acquire this property for future use, but some people at city hall want it badly enough to create a reason. (Seven years after the firehouse opened and when the property was available)

    At least Chief Kurten was inadvertently honest about what is really going on.

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