TAZEWELL COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE RECEIVES $91,250 FEDERAL POLLING PLACE ACCESSIBILITY GRANT
Joint Tazewell County Clerk And City Of Pekin Project Will Improve Public Access To McKenzie Building
PEKIN, IL: The Tazewell County Clerk's Office held a Joint Press Conference with the City of Pekin on Thursday, July 1, at 10:00am at the entrance of the Tazewell County McKenzie Building in Downtown Pekin to announce construction efforts to improve handicap accessibility and parking around the vital Tazewell County Government Office Building.
The Tazewell County Clerk's Office announced Thursday that it has been awarded a $91,250 Federal Polling Place Accessibility (PPA) Grant by the Illinois State Board Of Elections. The Tazewell County Clerk's Office, in partnership with the Tazewell County Maintenance Department and City of Pekin, applied for 4 PPA Grants, 2 of which have been awarded. The total PPA Grant of $91,250 is planned to cover the complete cost of both projects, with no additional public funding required by either local government entity.
The purpose of the Polling Place Accessibility (“PPA”) Grant is to address areas of inaccessibility in Illinois’ Polling Places. Funding was prioritized to correct barriers to accessing polling places – working toward the goal that all Illinois voters are able to exercise their right to vote privately and independently. In total, $1 million has been awarded by the Illinois State Board Of Elections to Election Authorities to make Illinois Polling Places accessible to voters with disabilities. Every Election Authority was awarded some funds, but they were not able to fully fund every requested project. To this end, funding was first prioritized to remedy barriers to access polling places, second to fund temporary measures to meet compliance, third permanent measures to meet compliance, fourth voting booths and other “inside the polling place” features, and finally training programs.
The City of Pekin will take the lead to replace the current sidewalks leading up to the McKenzie Building and replace them with a new drive-up landing for handicap parking that will no longer have individuals wanting to visit the building exiting their vehicles onto the street. Additionally, a new ramp will be installed immediately at the entrance of the building. Finally, the sidewalks will be raised and leveled to the appropriate grading for improved handicap accessibility.
The Tazewell County Maintenance Department will take the lead on removal of the current Courthouse facing doorway of the McKenzie Building, leading to a parking lot between the McKenzie Building and Tazewell County Courthouse, which is currently not handicap accessible. The doorway will be replaced with an appropriate handicap accessible doorway. This is vital for traffic moving between the McKenzie Building and Tazewell County Courthouse.
Both Federal Grant Funded Projects will be completed within the next year and the cost of these 2 projects will be completely covered by the grant received by the Tazewell County Clerk's Office.