Sherman agreed to invest nearly $ 24,500 to bring one of the city’s historic buildings into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Funding is provided through the Municipal Central Business District Historic Restoration and Improvement Grant Program, which has historically been used to assist in the repair and restoration of the front facades of many of Sherman’s historic buildings. However, this request does not relate to external improvements to the building.
The council unanimously approved an agreement with Sherman Federal Courthouse Square LLC to fund an ADA-compliant elevator to the Old Sherman Opera House on Travis Street.
“Mayor and councilor, you donate money to the downtown Sherman facade grant program every year,” said deputy city manager Terrence Steele. “… Although this is not intended for a facade, part of the grant can be used for this purpose.”
The former three-story opera house was built in 1880 as part of Sherman’s move to become a cultural epicenter in Texas and “the Athens of Texas” in the late 19th century. The opera house continued to operate until its final closure in 1918, showcasing a wide variety of acts and other attractions. Currently the building is home to Siebman Law, LLP and the True Options Pregnancy Center.
The improvements to the building require the installation of a new elevator in the building which will help achieve ADA compliance. The building used to have a functioning elevator, but has now been shut down and is currently an open shaft.
The expected cost of the renovation is estimated at approximately $ 97,731, with the city spending $ 24,432 on the upgrade.
Each year, the city allocates $ 50,000 in general fund revenue to the grant program to “promote substantial, visible, and lasting improvements to historic commercial buildings and to generate interest in vacant and unused buildings of historic value in central business.” Kreis. “However, with only one and a half months in the city’s financial year, the city has not received any facade-related inquiries.
With the approval, the city has enough funds for the year to fund an additional $ 25,000 for facade improvements.
The motion was commented on by Councilor Willie Steele, who said there could be room to refine the language of the fellowship program to reflect the additional purposes. He noticed that the city even colloquially refers to the program as the facade program.
While the grant has traditionally been used primarily for facade improvements, ADA compliance projects also fall within the scope of the grant program, according to Steele.
“We call it the facade grant, so maybe we can call it the improvement grant,” he said.
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