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CITY TO SEEK RESIDENT FEEDBACK ON ACCESSIBILITY PLAN

Community’s comments will prioritize comprehensive to-do list

SOMERVILLE
- An exhaustive six-month self-evaluation of the City's
accessibility will be developed into a living, multiyear action plan over the
next two months, with the help of the community, in an effort to ensure that
residents have equal access to the city's streets, sidewalks, buildings, parks
and programs.

 

The
Self-Evaluation Plan, required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
includes both a physical inventory of the City's infrastructure and existing
policies, practices and procedures regarding accessibility, identifying
existing barriers. Completed by the non-profit Institute for Human Centered
Design (IHCD) Firm of Boston and delivered to the City on June 30, the plan is
now under internal review by each City department for additional feedback.

 

Equally
vital to the drafting of the Self-Evaluation is public input. To that end, the
draft report will be published on the City's website in early August for public
review and comment, leading up to a public meeting tentatively targeted for
mid-September. The City will accept questions and comments on the draft report
via e-mail or phone that will be answered prior to or at the public meeting.
Both internal and external feedback will be incorporated into the final report.

 

A Transition Plan, also required by the ADA, will be written
based on that self-evaluation and following the public comment period
will--even more importantly--detail the methodology for removing those
barriers.

 

 

"We all benefit and are all enriched when all Somerville
residents can take part in our community," said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone.
"This Self-Evaluation Plan tells us what we need to do to make sure that
happens. The Transition Plan, shaped by the community, will guide the City's
efforts to ensure equal access for all City places, spaces and programs. It
will serve as a living document, updated frequently, to reflect Somerville's
evolution and serve as the City's accessibility roadmap for the future. Public
feedback is critical to assisting the City in prioritizing the barriers and
issues identified in the plan that, if addressed, can make an immediate and
meaningful difference in residents' daily lives. I am committed to seeing this
plan accomplished in full and the City proactively maintaining accessibility
throughout our community."

 

 

"The singular goal of the ADA is to bring individuals with
disabilities out into the open, enabling them to lead full lives and
participate in every aspect of their community," said Betsy Allen, ADA Coordinator
for the City of Somerville. "Both the Self-Evaluation Plan and the Transition Plan
are tools to help them lead more integrated lives. That's why feedback from
them is so critical in this effort to make Somerville a model of inclusivity." 

 

 

 

Residents can also contribute in this effort by volunteering
to serve on the Somerville Commission for Persons with Disabilities, which
meets monthly and will work with the ADA Coordinator in knocking down barriers.
To learn more about the Commission, contact ADA Coordinator Betsy Allen at
617-625-6600 extension 2323 or by email at ballen@somervillema.gov.


 

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