Progress on the long-anticipated plans to move Pauls Valley’s city hall to the site of a historic bank building in town got a definite lift Tuesday night as a major obstacle for those plans was wiped away during the regular PV City Council meeting.

Given approval during the city council meeting was the purchase and installation of a vertical platform lift that will solve the structure’s handicap accessibility problem.

The purchase of the $12,200 lift will enable the historic building at the corner of Paul and Chickasaw streets, former home of First United Bank, to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

This development will likely lead to a faster pace for work needed to equip the building’s interior to serve as the new local city hall.

“The only work done so far is tearing some stuff out,” City Manager James Frizell said.

“We haven’t started to rebuild anything yet. There’s been no need to get it done right away until this (ADA) issue was addressed,” he said.

“Now that it has been addressed everything should move fairly quickly.”

Besides the handicap accessibility issue, Frizell was also referring to such work as partitioning off the offices to be used by city hall employees, in addition to the new chambers where council members will hold meetings in the near future.

In all, a total of two bids were received for the platform lift as the lowest got council approval.

“This is one thing we’ve got to have,” Vice Mayor Billy Riddle said.

Fellow council members present at the meeting agreed.

“It’s either this or build a ramp,” Richard Ragland said.

Also voting to approve the platform lift bid was Jocelyn Rushing.

Plans are to place the lift in an annex located in a building directly south of the bank building allowing easy handicap accessibility into the future home of the local city hall.

The move was made possible when a property swap agreement was formalized in April 2004 between First United and the city of Pauls Valley.

The local bank made its move in September to its brand new facility, complete with a drive-through site, at the corner of West Grant and North Ash streets opening the way for the planning of the city hall move.

In addition to the property for its new facility, the bank will eventually be given the building in the 200 block of North Walnut now housing the local police department.

In return, the local municipal government will not only relocate city hall to the former bank building but it has also taken possession of the bank’s former drive-through facility located on South Willow Street, which is currently unused.

Original plans called for the construction of a new police facility on the Willow site. It now looks unlikely that will happen as the department is expected to someday be housed at another location.

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