State regulations have forced the Village of Genoa to put off a badly needed upgrade to the Town Hall elevator for another year, the village administrator says.
Village leaders had planned to upgrade electronics, wiring and plumbing on the 1960s-era elevator this fall. It would have been the first major rehab on the decades-old system.
But state officials have weighed in the project, resulting in a markup of at least $35,000 in additional costs, said Administrator Kevin Gladden.
The cost estimate offered by elevator repair experts put the upgrade around $50,000, which the village figured into its 2013 budget. Newer estimates are running between $85,000 and $100,000.
State regulators chimed in with changes this summer – the costliest being the addition of a sump pump installed at the base of the two-story system.
“We have to have a sump pump in the basement of the shaft,” Gladden said, “in order to protect the elevator in case of flooding issues. That means the installation of a crock, the sump pump and somewhere to discharge.”
The mandate also includes setting up a system to protect the elevator from oil problems.
“That’s a hydraulic lift. It’s not run by chains. It only goes two floors,” Gladden explained.
The elevator still meets standard daily regulations set forth by a division of the Ohio Department of Commerce. The system is inspected annually and the village has a license to operate it.
But village council has talked for years about updating the old system with new electronics and wiring, enhancing both safety and daily service.
“The control unit for that system is nearly 50 years. And when it breaks down, it’s getting harder and harder to find the parts,” the administrator said. “And the older they get, the more they cost to fix.”
Updating the electronic hardware could also mean a cost savings on the electric bill. The older equipment pulls more voltage to lift up and down.
Gladden said the upgrade will happen. It’s just a matter of time and money. Council member Daryl Bittner suggested at a recent meeting that the village seek grants to help with the costs. Gladden told him his crew is exploring grants and other financing options now.
Given the rising costs, “The village could say ‘We are not going to do this project.’ But I don’t see that happening,” Gladden said.
The town hall building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is classified as the oldest free-standing municipal building in Ottawa County.
The town hall also houses the Genoa Civic Center on its second floor. The elevator is critical to the continuation of the performances.
“Without the elevator,” Gladden added, “I don’t believe many would use the stairs. They are narrow and winding and there’s a double landing up there. For the time period it was built, steep and narrow was normal. Not today.”