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Carroll County Times

Letter: Museum closed for many reasons

In her Oct. 10 letter to the editor Roxann Morales claims the Taneytown Museum closed because one person complained that a rear entrance access ramp was demeaning. That is not the case.

The museum closed because the Taneytown Chamber of Commerce violated its $1-a-year lease with the city, as well as violating state and federal civil rights regulations.

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The key violation was the Chamber moved its museum to the second floor, which is not wheelchair accessible.

In fact, prior to receiving my complaint about museum inaccessibility, the city already had notified the chamber that its lease would not be renewed.

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According to a

Times

story in August, the chamber was looking for another facility if the city refused to sell them the building for $125,000. The building has a tax assessed value of $295,300. The market value would be significantly higher.

A good deal for the chamber. A bad deal for Taneytown.

Even City Councilman Angelo Zambetti saw other problems with using the building for a museum, noting that the building is too small for that purpose.

Morales also claims the loss of the museum at this site is a loss for everyone. Not so.

First, the chamber will have to find a fully accessible location for its museum, benefiting the entire community, not just those who can walk or climb stairs.

Second, the city will not give away a valuable asset to a chamber which has demonstrated a cavalier attitude toward those with mobility disabilities.

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Morales cautions others who are in violation of federal and state accessibility laws to "beware the crusader" who may target "their small business or community museum next."

Might it be more prudent to comply with the law?

Small businesses should check out IRS Tax Codes 190 & 44, to recoup 50-65 percent of any expenses they incur in making their business accessible.

They should consider it their patriotic duty to provide equal, safe and dignified access for the entire community.

And it will not cost them an arm and a leg.

Marilynn Phillips

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Hampstead


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