Improvements are coming to the Putnam County Golf Course after the county reached a litigation settlement with a disabled rights advocacy group.
The county and Westchester Disabled on the Move reached the settlement late last month and the county Legislature approved the measure 8-0 at its full meeting last Wednesday. Legislator Neal Sullivan was absent, but he addressed the litigation during a rules committee meeting last month and voiced support for the agreement.
During the June 22 rules committee meeting, Sullivan, the committee chairman, said the plaintiff wanted issues that made it difficult for disabled people on the golf course property in Mahopac addressed. In the coming months, a number of improvements will be made to the facilities, he said.
Those improvements include adding handicap parking, fixing pathways and doors to the patios, renovating the men’s and women’s bathrooms, adding a portable lift to access the stage in the banquet room and adding compliant ramps.
“The building will be significantly improved,” Sullivan said.
County Attorney Jennifer Bumgarner said there are deadlines for individual items required to be completed at the golf course. All of the work must be finished by June 30, 2018, Bumgarner said.
The cost for the renovations will be substantial, Legislator Carl Albano said during the rules committee meeting, with the expenditures possibly reaching close to $300,000.
The county will also cover the plaintiff ’s attorney’s fees that amount to $17,500.
The lawsuit was brought forward on July 27, 2016.
“The individual plaintiff is a Westchester County resident with a disability,”Bumgarner explained in an email. “There is no specific allegation contained in the complaint that he had any particular issue while at the golf course.”
Albano, during the full legislature meeting, said he’s glad the lack of disabled accommodations on the golf course premises came forward and the county is looking at other county facilities to ensure the properties are up to code. He noted Tilly Foster Farm as one example.
“A lot of our older buildings didn’t have to comply with these things years ago and now that they’re coming to our attention, inch by inch we’re hitting every one of them,” Albano said.
Westchester Disabled on the Move Executive Director Melvyn Tanzman said he was limited to what he could state until County Executive MaryEllen Odell signs the agreement later this week.
“My only comment is that we are pleased with the settlement,” Tanzman said in an email.