The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

November 1, 2013

City and county sign off on ADA plans

(Continued)

While the city and county have the costs for the plan they do not know how much it will cost to implement all of it. "Right now, there is no mandate from the feds to get the work completed," said Cornelius.

"We have not sat down and made a list and created priorities for the work to be done," added Goss. "It is too costly to do everything at once. I think we would want to do those things that have the biggest impact for the least cost first. The budget will be the driver in how quickly it will all be implemented."

The city has put together plans to address the sidewalk issues. "The council put a $50,000 item in the budget for sidewalk improvement," said Wellman. "We have prioritized the sidewalks that need to be upgraded. Those closest to government, school, and medical facilities will have the highest priority. The money will be used in cost sharing projects with the property owners to upgrade sidewalks."

One of the questions the county will be facing is how to comply with the ADA plan at the courthouse, especially when you consider how that will mix with historical, architectural and security concerns. "That certainly complicates things," said Cornelius.

"It can be done," added Goss. "It will just take some more planning and effort."

Both the city and county have already made some progress toward ADA compliance. The old City Hall now has ramps and an elevator. The sidewalks downtown meet federal regulations. The courthouse has a ramp and elevator, but that isn't everything that may have to be done. "This is also about parking lots, restrooms, and the heights of counters," said Goss. "It's about removing the barriers that people experience when they try to access their government. If we can remove the physical barriers then it's the right thing to do."

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