Columbia reviews city's Americans with Disabilities Act plan

Friday, August 20, 2010 | 6:15 p.m. CDT; updated 8:27 p.m. CDT, Friday, August 20, 2010

COLUMBIA — The City of Columbia is welcoming input on a transition plan for upcoming changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Updating the ADA plan will increase the city’s accessibility for people with disabilities, according to Tony St. Romaine, assistant city manager and ADA coordinator for the city. He also said the plan will improve city policies, programs and procedures to reduce barriers to such accessibility.

How to give your input

Tony St. Romaine, Assistant City Manager and ADA Coordinator, can be reached at:

Homer Page, the chairperson of the Columbia Disabilities Commission, said accessibility includes physical access and service access.  

“Depending on what disabilities you have, you have different priorities,” Page said.

Sidewalk accessibility is important for people with physical disabilities, but for people who are hearing-impaired, communication access in one form or another to city functions and city meetings is probably the top priority, Page said.

For people who are visually impaired, Page said electronic access to websites and other electronic information provided by the city is probably the most important issue, but he doesn’t know to what extent the city is going to be able to address this.

“It may be beyond the scope of what city can do,” said Page.

For people with mental illnesses, community-based services such as finding housing and medical treatments are key issues, but whether the ADA covers the city’s involvement with this group of people is questionable, Page said.

In order to better prepare a transition ADA plan, the city wants to hear from citizens and organizations familiar with accessibility concerns.

The city has an online survey at E-mail messages, phones calls and letters are also welcomed.

“We’d like to gather all suggestions, comments and facts on deficiencies by Oct.1, 2010," St.Romaine said.

The ADA transition plan will probably come out sometime next spring, Page said.

It’s been 18 years since the Columbia ADA plan was last reviewed.

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Carlos Sanchez August 20, 2010 | 7:17 p.m.

The ADA benefits everybody non disabled and disabled alike.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 9, 2010 | 1:08 a.m.
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