Those attempting to drop by Glendale City Council’s chambers since mid-November have been greeted by signs directing visitors to a building next door.
On Nov. 11, an onsite elevator broke down, rendering the meeting room on the second floor of Glendale City Hall inaccessible to some and therefore out of compliance with federal disability regulations, according to John Takhtalian, Glendale’s deputy city manager.
City Council meetings will likely not resume in their usual location until at least mid-May, as the city awaits custom repairs to the elevator’s control system, Takhtalian said.
Until then, meetings will be held in room 105 of the city’s Municipal Services Building, located on the same campus as City Hall, at 633 E. Broadway.
“The government moves on, even outside our hallowed chambers,” Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian said lightheartedly.
The room where City Council meetings are temporarily being held is where the city’s planning commission, design review board and audit committee meetings are held, Glendale city spokeswoman Eliza Papazian said.
“The elevator presented a challenge, but it also provided an opportunity,” Takhtalian said, adding that parts for the several-decades-old elevator were not readily available, and had to be commissioned for replacement.
With the chambers closed, officials have gone forward early with planned upgrades to the chambers’ lighting and audio-visual system, as well as to the microphones on the dais, he said.
Several new cameras and speakers will be installed, which, along with the improved lighting, should enhance the image quality for those watching the meetings on Glendale’s local TV station, GTV6, said Brian Halloran, a broadcast coordinator with the city.
Those upgrades were approved earlier this year as part of a broader overhaul to GTV6’s operations.
City Council members will also consider adding another air-conditioning unit in the chambers, with a report on options expected to come before the council on Jan. 21. There is one unit currently installed.
“If you’ve been here on a hot day when we have a packed room, no amount of preplanning and turning the air conditioning on to 50 degrees, even five hours ahead of time, keeps the room cool,” Takhtalian said during a recent tour of the chambers’ remodel.
Currently, the dais is draped in a plastic covering, ceiling panels are removed to expose the chamber’s existing wiring system and pull strings hang like vines from the ceiling to allow new wiring to be installed.
It looks like a more serious operation than it is, Takhtalian said. There may be some minimal cosmetic changes to the finish of some of the chambers’ wooden features, but no major structural changes are being undertaken.
By taking care of as many improvements as possible while the elevator is down, the city can potentially avoid taking its chambers offline again at a later date, Takhtalian said.
Once the elevator is fixed, the chambers will be fully accessible to the public again, he said, adding that the upgrades will not extend the chamber’s closure.