Bringing city property up to compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements became a focal point during Thursday’s City Services committee meeting.
City Engineer Jason Craft said several provisions for disabled persons mandated by ADA were not met in the city. Title II of the act requires the city to provide handicapped access to any publicly owned and operated lands, buildings or services.
“We basically need to start over from the beginning,” Craft said.
Title II outlines five steps cities must follow to be compliant.
Step one calls for the creation of a designated ADA coordinator, who would be responsible for overseeing and delegating any changes. Craft said the city could hire a new employee for the task, or add duties on to those of an existing employee. Craft recommended that City Administrator Jeffrey Horne be named the designated ADA coordinator, and Horne agreed.
The second step requires cities to notify the public of ADA requirements. Craft said this could be accomplished by placing ads with local media outlets. Establishing a grievance procedure is the third step. A grievance system would define the steps necessary to discuss issues with compliance.
“All citizens can be assured that their grievances will be treated fairly,” Craft said.
The final steps would require the city to self-evaluate and eventually fix any problems.
Craft said the ADA compliance issues were brought to his attention while working on the curb and ramp transition plan that would ease road access for disabled persons.
Gary McDermott, who helped alert Craft to ADA mandates, said it would be a good idea for the city to consider reestablishing a committee of disabled persons to help coordinate compliance procedures.
In other action, the committee:
• Listened to proposed amendments to the contract for HDR Engineering, the engineering firm responsible for the design of the wastewater treatment plant.
The new plant will not be open 24 hours a day, so a security firm must be hired to be present during off hours. Public Works Director Gary Schellhorn said they previously discussed having a contracted service handle off-hours calls, but decided a human presence was necessary to help coordinate with police during emergencies. The cost is estimated to be around $300,000.
Schellhorn also said the wastewater treatment plant would require an additional structure to act as a maintenence and storage facility. He said that adding the building was always something the city had planned, but they thought they could delay the construction to save costs.
“As things have progressed, we’re going to need that sooner than later,” Schellhorn said.
The facility is expected to cost around $750,000
The amendments will have to be submitted to the Committee of the Whole for further discussion.
• Discussed a request by Ashford University to establish a crosswalk on Springdale Drive.
Craft said the city rejected two previous requests by Ashford. The first request, a painted crosswalk, was dismissed as too great a liability to the city and the second, a full-stoplight, was rejected because it would impede traffic flow.
The latest suggestion, which would be the addition of a cross walk and flashing warning signs, is something Craft said should be acceptable to the city.
The suggestion was forwarded to the Committee of the Whole.