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Project Narrative 

Funding in the amount of $121,000+/- was generously granted to assist the Lawrence History Center in support of greater accessibility at the historic Essex Company Offices and Yard – a site listed on the National Register of Historic Places and our home. The project investment from many helped us certify the 1:1 match required for a $55,000 grant awarded to us by the Massachusetts Cultural Council Cultural Facilities Fund to replace our current decommissioned elevator so that we may again serve those with mobility challenges and move further toward total compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in our main building.

All sources of funding include: MCC Cultural Facilities Grant ($55,000) and match dollars awarded by the William Wood Foundation ($15,000), the Margaret Collins Charitable Fund ($7,000), Essex Heritage ($2,000), Enel Green Power ($10,000), CDBG ($10,000), individual donors Gerald Williamson ($1,000) and Phyllis Tyler ($100), and the Clifford S. Wrigley bequest ($9,900). 

The LHC Facilities Committee and Board decided to contract with Halley Elevator because of past positive experience with them, they have worked on similar elevator installations in the local area, they honored their quote from early 2017, their compliance with the Davis Bacon Act, are local (in Newburyport and Lawrence at the Stone Mill) and were willing to go the extra mile to find a manufacturer who could deliver during the pandemic and to be sure that what we were getting would work in our unique space. Two other contractors were approached, but declined to bid. 

Preservation Restriction 

The Massachusetts Historic Commission holds a preservation restriction on our buildings, we are required to make them aware of such projects. In many cases, depending on the scope of the project, we must obtain a letter from them indicating that the project will have "no adverse effect" before proceeding with work on our buildings. MHC made this determination in their letter dated June 25, 2019 (36CFR 800.5 (b)). 

Project Scope and Timeline 

What Halley Elevator did

- Removed existing equipment in main building 

- Installed new Savaria Orion LULA elevator in main building 

Work began the first week of June 2020 and was completed on January 15, 2021 at which time we received the inspection certification from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Additional upgrades completed to meet new MA safety regulations include: fire detection system upgrade (DDA Systems), electrical system upgrade (David Electrical Co.), mason work to seal doorways to meet fire rating requirement, using brick from 1883 original to the Essex Company site (Brian Freeman), and a dedicated phone line in elevator cab (Verizon). 

This project is an important step in bringing building closer to complete compliance with ADA standards in order to safely accommodate a growing number of visitors, volunteers and staff of all ages and abilities.