Codington County Heritage Museum looking to make access to Carnegie Library easier

WATERTOWN, S.D.(KXLG} The Codington County Heritage Museum has been housed in the historic Carnegie Library in downtown Watertown since 1975. While the space and the location are well-suited to preserve and display the area’s history, access – especially for those with mobility issues — has always been hampered by the massive steps leading up to the front entrance.

Fixing that situation has been a goal of Museum Director Christy Lickei since she took the job. More than two years ago, Lickei and the Codington County Historical Society Board of Directors began making the building accessible to everyone.

They looked into several options, including a steel ramp and a chair lift, but decided an outdoor elevator would be the best solution. After two years of fundraising and prep work, the project is finally coming to fruition, Lickei told KXLG News.

Workers from Access Elevators and Lifts of Tea, S.D., were in town last week installing the sleek glass elevator. Installation is nearly complete, but the workers hit a snag when they determined some parts of the elevator were missing. The parts had to be ordered from Canada, and getting them through customs could take a while, delaying the project’s completion.

But once the elevator is up and running, everybody can access the historic building easily.

Since the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, there were limits to what changes could be made to the structure, Lickei said.

There was work that had to be done before the lift’s arrival.

The project cost, including the concrete work, the lift itself, and the installation, was about $115,000. Donations to the Historical Society funded the entire project.