WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The city of Williamsport has announced plans for a nearly $500,000 security improvement project downtown.
To make City Hall safer, Williamsport says it also needs to make things easier for people who have hit a few roadblocks when trying to get into the building.
"It's like anyplace you go to nowadays. You get people who are irate, upset coming into the building, and it's easier to contain them in one area before they go into another area," explained codes administrator Joe Girardi.
Williamsport has budgeted $450,000 for planned security upgrades, including hiring a security guard to man the front door.
A waiting area for visitors will also be added inside the front entrance of the building.
"I think it would be a great idea as well because it would help ensure that the people are safe," said James Emery.
The city may close other entrances to the building, but right now, the only wheelchair-accessible ramp is in the back of the building.
The ramp is not a direct entrance to City Hall. People who use it have to then gain access to the building through the police department. They'll go through a few sets of doors before they make it to the elevator. It's part of the reason why city workers tell us by next year they plan to have a new ramp built outside in front of the building. This will be replaced with a new. more accessible elevator.
"The greater goal for us is that everyone has access to everyday places that we go for business," said Tima Cummings, Center for Independent Living of North Central Pennsylvania.
Cummings helps others with disabilities live independently in the community. Cummings and a few of his coworkers helped kickstart the project. They reached out to the city after noticing the ramp needed an upgrade
"We just brainstormed ideas. It was pretty much an honor to work with the individuals that really had an open mind about, you know, 'Let's take these people's ideas and see what we can do with them,'" Cumming added.
The $450,000 improvement project should be finished next year.