Progress reported on Garden Cinemas accessibility projects

  • The Garden Cinemas in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 11/28/2019 10:56:45 PM

GREENFIELD — As a Jan. 15 deadline approaches, the Greenfield Garden Cinemas’ Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance projects are making progress.

Previous owners of the business and current building owners, George Gohl and Bill Gobeille, are making strides to complete work needed on the wheelchair lift, evidenced by monthly status reports submitted to the Architectural Access Board (AAB).

After 20 years, Gohl and Gobeille sold the theater earlier this month to local lawyer and outgoing At-Large City Councilor Isaac Mass and his wife, Greenfield High School teacher Angela Mass, with the sale being contingent upon successful completion of the ADA compliance projects by Gohl and Gobeille. The Masses are its third owners in its history.

But in June, the Garden Cinemas faced potential closure if the mechanical chairlift wasn’t updated. The previous chairlift was installed in the 1980s and was not accessible to motorized wheelchairs.

The Architectural Access Board granted an extension to purchase and install a new chairlift by Jan. 15, 2020 and requested monthly status reports from Gohl.

The most recent status update was received by the board at the end of October. Gohl could not be reached for comment on how much more work has been completed in November.

“As a condition of funding for the lift provided by a (Community Development) Block Grant through the Greenfield Planning Board, we are required to make roof repairs,” wrote Gohl in his July status report to the Architectural Access Board. “We received a commitment letter from Greenfield Savings Bank on July 5. A fully executed copy has been forwarded to the AAB from Greenfield Savings Bank. Florence Roofing has been engaged for that work and we have a start date for the roof in August depending on weather.”

In July, Renaissance Builders, R.G. Penfield & Sons Inc. and Mowry & Schmidt Inc. were contracted to remove a wall that will accommodate a larger, wider lift, according to Gohl’s August report. He also stated roof repairs began Aug. 30.

The roof repairs were completed Sept. 13, the September report from Gohl states. The vendor for the lift upgrade was also selected in September as well — Garaventa USA, Inc. of Manchester, N.H., whose quote was $26,770.

“We have engaged an Austin Design architect to draw up the specifications for the installation,” Gohl wrote. “We are anticipating ordering the chairlift unit the first or second week of October.”

According to the October report by Gohl, “Austin Design has made a site visit in October and (is) working on the architectural drawings, which should be completed soon.”

At its Nov. 18 meeting, the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board voted to accept the status report, with the condition of receiving the final inspection for the lift. The board’s next meeting is Dec. 2.

The new owners’ grand opening will be Saturday — Small Business Saturday — at 10 a.m., which will be followed by a free showing of the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” That same morning, the Masses will run a fundraiser for the Discovery School at Four Corners at 9:30 a.m. by showing the Disney feature, “Frozen II.”


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