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Work begins on handicapped ramp at Aberdeen Post Office

After years of city officials trying to get a handicapped ramp built at the Aberdeen Post Office, construction finally began last week.
After years of city officials trying to get a handicapped ramp built at the Aberdeen Post Office, construction finally began last week. (Courtesy photo/Patrick McGrady)

Almost 10 months ago, Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady ramped up his years-long effort to make the Aberdeen Post Office handicapped accessible.

It’s been baby steps, but he’s finally seeing the fruits of his, and the city’s, efforts: construction began recently on a new ramp outside the Post Office on West Bel Air Avenue.

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“I'm happy that the management at USPS have recognized the need of our community and committed the resources to accomplish positive changes,” McGrady said earlier this week.

Aberdeen City Manager Randy Robertson said the city was notified by Dane Coleman, a representative of the postal service in Baltimore, that it was exempt from getting a city permit for the project and was moving forward with the ramp.

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After years of trying to get a ramp built at the Aberdeen Post Office, construction began last week.
After years of trying to get a ramp built at the Aberdeen Post Office, construction began last week. (Courtesy Patrick McGrady / Baltimore Sun)

McGrady has been lobbying the U.S. Postal Service since 2010 to build a ramp or other structure to allow disabled veterans, elderly people, handicapped people and anyone else access to the facility that was built in 1936 and which he says at one time was handicapped accessible.

He saw a man in a wheelchair at the bottom of the steps looking up, waiting to see if an employee from inside the post office would come help him. McGrady helped him into the building.

Over the years he has sent letters to local U.S. senators and representatives seeking help — they were forwarded to the postal service, he said. Each time he was denied.

In May 2017, 18 months after being elected mayor, McGrady hosted a rally on a Saturday in front of the post office. The rally drew about 40 people, and the attention of the postal service.

In August, the city was notified that a study for an accessibility ramp at the post office has been completed and its design was beginning.

McGrady has said often over the last eight months that he wouldn’t believe it until he saw it.

Now he can see it, and he snapped pictures of the orange construction tape outside the post office that he shared on social media.

“Aberdeen's downtown has tremendous potential and we are working hard to grow and develop opportunities for our citizens and businesses,” McGrady said. “This ramp is a symbol of the changes happening in Aberdeen. For many years, folks and governments outside Aberdeen have overlooked the diversity, skills and warmth of our Aberdeen folks and I'm pleased that lots of exciting things are happening in Aberdeen.”

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