Leader Blues

Thursday, November 01, 2007

TOP STORY >>Sidewalks still out of compliance

By JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

Cabotís public buildings meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but in many cases the sidewalks around them donít and there was no plan to remedy that situation until now.

Mayor Eddie Joe Williams said since the city was visited three months ago by six representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice, he and members of his staff have developed a five-year plan to bring city sidewalks into compliance.

Not only were the city sidewalks not cut and ramped for wheelchair access or painted and textured for the visually impaired, in many cases sidewalks are non-existent. So the plan for the next five years is to build ramps where needed, repair some sidewalks and build sidewalks where needed so that residents who want to walk have sidewalk access to such buildings as city hall, the community center, post office, library and senior citizens center.

Williams said the city will spend $15,000 this year to build a sidewalk from Locust Street to the new community center.

The city council voted last year to build that sidewalk, but there was no money in the general fund to do so. Next year the plan is to spend about $25,000 to install about 20 handicap sidewalk accesses.

Williams told a committee of council members recently that sticking to the plan is essential to eventually making the city ADA compliant.

He said his office will always listen to residentsí complaints and make notes about areas that need work. But if, for example, an area is scheduled for work in the third year of the five-year plan, that work wonít be done ahead of schedule regardless of complaints.