By Dawn Davis for The Island Eye News
Fort Sumter National Monument is seeking public comments for the proposed replacement of the existing and inoperable accessibility chairlifts with a combination of ramps and an enclosed elevator that will meet guidelines with the Architectural Barriers Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the National Historic Preservation Act. This project is an effective and more reliable approach to improving accessibility by providing greater access at Fort Sumter while being mindful of the historic resources of the fort. The 30-day public comment period starts Monday Nov. 13 and will close at the close of business on Dec. 12. The design of the enclosed elevator and the ramp will complement the existing historic façade. The proposal includes a ramp leading from the parade ground of Fort Sumter to the lower level of Battery Huger. An enclosed elevator from the lower level to the middle level will provide access to the museum and museum store. A second ramp system will provide access from the middle level to the top of the fort in the south Endicott era gun emplacement for a view from the top of the fort and surrounding landscapes. This design balances the need for accessibility with the consideration of historic resources. Archaeological monitoring and mitigation will occur during construction. Written comments will only be accepted during the 30-day public review period from Nov. 13 through Dec. 12, through the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website (parkplanning.nps.gov/ fortsumteraccessibility), or written comments may be mailed to Fort Sumter Accessibility Project, Fort Sumter National Monument, 1214 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island, SC, 29482. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. At the conclusion of the review period, comments received will be incorporated into a Memorandum of Agreement to resolve the adverse effects of this undertaking. The National Park Service values the public’s interest in Fort Sumter.