For Immediate Release: 7/31/2014 10:07 am
Worcester, MA (July 31, 2014) - The city will hold a public hearing to review and receive comments on a draft update of its ADA Transition plan, a document that will help Worcester provide and maintain compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The hearing will be from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday, Aug. 12 in the Levi Lincoln Chambers, Room 309 of City Hall. The hearing will be convened jointly by the Commission on Disability, Human Rights Commission and the Elder Affairs Commission.
The draft report will be used to update the city’s Transition Plan, a living document used to monitor corrective actions. This report will include model policies and procedures and a summary of architectural barriers and proposed barrier removal solutions for the city’s 10 municipal buildings, three libraries, one police station, 10 fire stations, and over 20 open spaces.
The city has contracted the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD) to undertake a comprehensive assessment of its policies, practices and procedures as well as its facilities to determine compliance with the requirements of the ADA and the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board.
The consultants found that Worcester has made significant progress in addressing ADA issues since its last transition plan, in 2004. The team also found good compliance in city structures built or renovated after 2000. The consultants praised Worcester’s city manager’s office and department heads for bringing their knowledge and engagement to the process.
"Jayna Turchek, the Director of the Office of Human Rights, who also serves as Worcester's ADA Coordinator, and her staff had done an extraordinary amount of work in recent years to bring the city into compliance on administrative requirements, on effective communication strategies, on sharing information accessibly and on educating city staff on the responsibility to program accessibility through the modification of policies and procedures," IHCD Project Manager Emmanuel Andrade and Executive Director Valerie Fletcher said.
Prior to finalizing the report, there will be a number of ways for the public to have their comments included in the process. On Aug. 5, a draft Self-Evaluation report will be posted on the city’s website, worcesterma.gov, for review and comment by the public. An online survey will be posted on worcesterma.gov on Aug. 12 and will be available until Aug. 26. Written or emailed comments will be accepted through 5:00 PM Aug. 26. Comments may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.