This Thursday, August 29, at 6 p.m., a public meeting will be held at City Hall regarding the accessibility of most of Somerville’s public facilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. These needs are addressed in a 530-page report, “ADA Self-Evaluation (as basis for Transition Plan),” available on the Somerville website.
The issue stems mostly from the lack of building codes regulating facilities accessible to citizens with disabilities when many of Somerville’s older buildings were constructed. While the report notes that most buildings built after 2000 are accessible to those with disabilities, work will likely be required to bring much of the city up to the standards of the ADA. Ironically enough, the first structure evaluated in the report is City Hall, where the meeting will take place.
But the setbacks identified by the plan were by no means insurmuntable. According to the report, “continued facility replacements, alterations, and/or renovations will substantially reduce barriers and realize Somerville’s commitment to inclusion and equal rights. In the meantime, the greatest problems posed by existing barriers can be ameliorated by establishing policies and procedures to accommodate the public.”