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The City of Somerville’s ADA Coordinator announced today that the city’s second and final public meeting to receive feedback on its report detailing an exhaustive six-month evaluation of the city’s accessibility will be held on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 6 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall.

At the meeting, which is cosponsored by the Somerville Commission for Persons with Disabilities,  community feedback will be gathered that will develop the Self-Evaluation report into a living, multi-year Transition Plan to create equal access for all to the city’s streets, sidewalks, buildings, parks and programs. Residents may also send questions and comments on the report via e-mail or phone. The report is available online at www.somervillema.gov/departments/personnel/ADA by clicking the link “Self-Evaluation Plan” on the right-hand side of the page.

The completed Self-Evaluation, which outlines a physical inventory of the city’s infrastructure and existing policies, practices and procedures regarding accessibility and identifies existing barriers to equal access, was delivered to the city on August 12 by the nonprofit Institute for Human Centered Design Firm of Boston, which was hired by the city to prepare the report. The report will form the basis for the Transition Plan which, when combined with public input, will detail the methodology and outline the time frame for removing those barriers.

“Public feedback is critical to assisting the city in prioritizing the barriers and issues identified in the Self-Evaluation that, if addressed, can make an immediate and meaningful difference in residents’ daily lives,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “The Plan, compiled by XX, includes a comprehensive and detailed list of city infrastructure and has recently been lauded by Massachusetts Office on Disability as ‘the new standard’ in similar plan creation for communities throughout the Commonwealth. This is a process years in the making and the city owes thanks to the community, the Somerville Commission for Persons with Disabilities and other community advocates. Thanks to their advocacy and work, these plans are becoming reality.”

“The city has been informed that Massachusetts Office on Disability officials consider its Self-Evaluation report ‘the best they’ve ever seen’ and that our plan will now serve as ‘the state’s new standard for the state-of-the-art,’ said Betsy Allen, the city’s ADA Coordinator.  “Here, in Somerville, we are always inspired to set new standards and we work hard to come up with smart solutions to complex, intractable problems. We’re pleased that our report will be the new model for cities and towns that have yet to undertake an evaluation and are tackling the complex issue of creating equal access. Yet, inasmuch as we appreciate the input and are encouraged by the accolades from State officials and others, the critical input and feedback we continue to seek are those of our community, city residents, persons with disabilities whose lives are directly impacted by the work that we do and the priorities that we set. We want and need to hear about the things they feel will make a substantial and appreciable difference in their daily lives. We need and highly value the community’s continued input. Let us resolve to remain passionate, committed, vocal and highly engaged in this extremely worthwhile effort.”

The Self-Evaluation and Transition plans are part of the city’s overall efforts to address accessibility throughout Somerville, along with the new Streetscape Plan and the active contributions of the Somerville Commission for Persons with Disabilities. The Commission meets monthly and works with the ADA Coordinator to knock down barriers. New Commission members are welcome.

To learn more about the city’s comprehensive plans to create equal access for all, please contact ADA Coordinator Betsy Allen at 617-625-6600 ext. 2323 or by email atballen@somervillema.gov.

 

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