Rincon has received a $50,000 grant aimed at bringing polling places up to Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, city council members learned Monday night.
The city plans to add other budget money to the project so the building and grounds at the Vernon C. Hinely Center, Rincon’s polling precinct, are more functional and appealing to the community.
“We’re going to be able to do some work on the exterior doors, the single doors and the double doors,” said city planner LaMeisha Hunter. “We’re actually going to get some new flooring for the building. Some people may say, ‘how’s that ADA-compliant?’ but the reason why it was approved is because we have some insulation-ventilation issues with the building and so in certain types of weather, the floor sweats and it’s already uneven.”
The city also intends to put handicapped parking stripes and install signs. The city also will renovate the ramp at the rear of the building and the ramp will have a railing. The water fountains also will be replaced with ADA-complaint fountains.
The major work, Hunter said, will be the bathrooms. Those will be demolished and rebuilt to comply with ADA standards. The new bathrooms would allow for more turning radius for wheelchairs, adjust the toilet height and have grab bars added.
Also, better light fixtures will be installed in the Hinely Center.
The improvements also would allow the city’s seniors programs to grow, Rincon’s Recreation Director, David Wooten said.
“We do a senior bingo once a week,” he said, “but the building and facilities is open to them for whatever activities they’d like to get together and pursue, whether it be bridge night, or whatever activity that they’d like to be involved in. They know they can just call.”
Once the improvements are in place, Wooten said, it would make it easier for more seniors to participate in activities at the Hinely Center.
“If they are in a wheelchair or are in a walker, now we have the accommodations to where it’s not such a strain for them to get in there and move around for a couple of hours,” he said.
He also said the city plans to increase the building’s parking and add a decorative and protective fence and landscaping. The building can accommodate 235 people.
Hunter said the grant was a result of the work among city staff involving herself, Wooten, city clerk Wanda Hendrix, Kia Westmoreland and Travis Wells.
“It’s one of those things where the community’s really going to benefit from a grant program,” Hunter said. “Sometimes people think that government money is wasted in just one area and it’s not going to serve any other function, but this right here is going to benefit a building that has been around for years and the community is going to see a direct benefit and participate in that for years to come.”