The Salida City Council (SCC) work session on April 3 centered on a presentation of the city’s draft ADA Transition Plan from Diesel Post, Parks and Recreation Director, and Travis Greiman, project manager with engineering firm Alfred Benesch and Company.
Greiman explained that the Transition Plan had “moved from Parks and Rec to be more of a citywide thing.”
He then offered a brief background of the ADA, or Americans With Disabilities, Act, noting that he would be addressing Title II, dealing with state and local government’s obligation to ensure that there is no discrimination with regard to access to public services, which can include everything from curb height to door widths for wheelchair accessibility, sidewalk surfaces and even Braille signage for the sight-impaired.
The purpose of the transition plan is to help what Greiman referred to as “outward-facing services”, such as facilities access, conform to Title II.
Greiman then gave a transition plan overview, saying that the process had started in the late summer and fall of 2022, with the final transition plan completed and ready for approval as of March 2023. He noted that one of the first steps in the proceedings was a staff self-evaluation regarding their awareness about “what exists and doesn’t exist with regard to accessibility; service gaps; how they [staff] would respond to requests for accommodations.
“In general staff has a good grasp of the issues involved [with accessibility],” Greiman reported, citing their “strong customer service ethic” as a motivating factor. “There is a lack of formal documentation about how to handle requests for accommodations, to guide staff on how to handle requests. The staff is interested in training.”
From self-evaluation Greiman moved on to assessments of facilities, parks and trails, and RWOs (Right of Way), (e.g., ramps, curbs, and sidewalks).
Facilities elements were rated at five percent full ADA-compliant: “That sounds bad, but most of your buildings were built before the 90s,” Greiman said: “Just make sure that improvements take accessibility into account.” Parks and trails fared a little better, with about half the city’s paved trails considered accessible, versus parking lots being considered 17 percent ADA-compliant.
Greiman concluded his presentation with a summary of public outreach efforts, including an Open House/public workshop, and the transition plan draft and user survey on the city’s website.
He noted that Assistant City Manager Christy Doon is now the ADA Coordinator, and that she would be responsible for a grievance procedure, to deal with breaches of ADA regulations, which is being established. Finally came an estimate of the price tag for bringing the City of Salida into full ADA compliance: “Around $5 million to feasibly address all elements within 20 years,” Greiman said. “The SCC’s responsibilities include allotting money for these improvements” and to update the Transition Plan as necessary.
“Going forward,” Greiman concluded, “I encourage you to keep the customer ethos about improving accessibility – if you receive complaints, you want to show that you are documenting and addressing them.”
“Can you give me an idea about regulatory audits?” asked Treasurer Merrell Bergin.
“You are not going to get [federal] attention unless you receive a specific complaint,” Greiman replied. “If someone does come knocking, they want to see documentation – as you improve things, write it down.”
The ADA Transition Plan is up for consideration and approval at the SCC’s regular meeting on April 4.