Kidd-Key Auditorium may soon new access for individuals with mobility issues. A nearly $63,000 contract with Arco Contractors for the construction of a wheelchair access ramp that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act on the outside of the historic building was approved through the Sherman City Council this week.

The city has received sporadic complaints over the years regarding access to the auditorium. Up until about two years ago, the city utilized a motorized wheelchair lift for access to the auditorium, but the equipment was broken by a patron who exceeded the weight capacity.

“It is very a very difficult journey for a handicapped person to get access to Kidd-key Auditorium,” Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said. “You have to go downstairs, then up an elevator then down a ramp. This will improve that process and provide ADA access to the auditorium.”

Since 2017, the city has utilized a non-compliant wooden ramp to assist patrons with mobility issues. However the ramp was never meant to be a long-term solution, Strauch said.

“This is a project that the city has had under advisement for a number of years now, we’ve just been trying to find an appropriate source of funds to pay for it,” Strauch said.

That opportunity presented itself this year in the form of the city’s annual funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Block Development Grand program. Traditionally funding from the program has been used for improvements of public projects in low- to moderate-income areas and neighborhoods.

However, a provision in the program allows for these funds to be used on ADA-compliance projects in publicly-accessible buildings.

This represents the first time the city has utilized the program for ADA projects, Strauch said. The city has primarily used these funds for park improvements in disadvantaged neighborhoods in recent years.

Only two bids were received when the bidding period ended in late September. Arco Contractors came it as the lowest bid, with a proposal of $62,834. CDBG funds will cover about $55,000 of the project, with the remaining balance pad using local funds.