The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved funding for accessibility improvements at the Grange, including a handicap accessible restroom and an interior and exterior lift.
Photo by Alex McVeigh.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved more than $500,000 in funding to make the Grange in Great Falls compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The Grange is owned and operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority.
“It’s a huge relief to get those funds, it’s something the Grange has needed for a long time,” said Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville).
Currently the Grange has two restrooms, the men’s on the ground floor and women’s on the second floor, and neither is ADA-compliant. There is also no accessibility between floors for the disabled, only an exterior and interior staircase.
“We’re planning to turn the men’s room into a unisex handicapped restroom, which will involve opening up the space a little to allow for an acceptable turning radius for wheelchairs,” said Dave Bowden, director of the park authority’s Planning and Development division. “We will also install a lift between floors so the bathroom is accessible to all, as well as a second, exterior lift.”
The Grange was built in 1929 as a public assembly hall, and is part of the National Register of Historic Places. The building and its property were purchased by the park authority in 1981.
Currently it is rented out by the Park Authority for public meetings and other functions.
“We will be taking into account the building’s historical nature with any renovations, the historical integrity of the building will not be affected,” said Cindy Martin, director of the park authority’s Resource Management Division. “We’re hoping that this increased accessibility will bring more people and programs into the Grange.”
A lack of accessible facilities has previously prevented groups such as the Great Falls Senior Center from holding events at the Grange.
Bowden said the Park Authority is currently in the planning process when it comes to the improvements, and no timeline on the project is available.
There will be notifications to the community before any work begins, as well as information posted about any change to programs at the Grange.
“It’s a huge relief to get those funds, it’s something the Grange has needed for a long time.”
—Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville)
The Board of Supervisors’ decision came at their Sept. 10 meeting, as the board decided on ways to spend a $93 million surplus from Fiscal Year 2013, which ended June 30.