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Linton holds ADA meeting Monday

Friday, November 30, 2012

Linton will get its first look at a city-wide long-term plan for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in a special public information session Monday.

"That's actually a public information meeting," said the city's ADA Coordinator Tim Turpin. "That's involved with it. This is part of our plan to inform the people."

The 5 p.m. session, held in City Hall, follows a 4 p.m. Board of Public Works meeting and is designed to promote talk about how Linton can improve "accessibility to all the functions, anywhere in the city," said Turpin.

"Basically, it's an inventory of the whole town," Turpin said, which includes noticing how things such as door jambs which block drafts can also impede wheelchairs.

"Little things like that affect people. You can't get a wheelchair over it," Turpin said. "It's little things you and I don't notice that we're trying to fix."

Those who lack transport to the meeting, especially the handicapped, may contact City Hall at 847-7754 for rides.

"We're trying to help them," Turpin said. "We're working with Ride Solutions."

Toward the ADA compliance effort, Linton's Mayor John Wilkes named Turpin the city's new ADA Coordinator and convened the city's first ADA committee which includes Councilmen Fred Markle and Jathan Wright, Generations President Noble Stallons, and Tom Fisher.

"It's our meeting where the public can give input," Wright said. "First Group Engineering will be conducting the meeting...As much public attendance and opinions we can get will very helpful. The city has its comprehensive plan put together and we are looking to move forward with our work."

Turpin, who also serves as the city's street superintendent, was approved unanimously by the Linton City Council in early February by a 5-0 vote.

Turpin's work on the city streets, where many handicapped-accessible ramps have been installed, was a key reason in his selection.

He replaced former ADA Coordinator Brent Slover.

Turpin aimed to convene a citizen's advisory committee and establish a grievance process by mid-year.

The commission's first task was to begin drafting a citywide plan to improve access, though Turpin admits that could take several years.

Last spring, the city distributed surveys questioning the citizenry about three main issues:

* Has the respondent encountered or observed any problems in access for public buildings?

* Has the respondent encountered or observed any problems in access at the city parks?

* Has the respondent encountered or observed any problems with access on the city's sidewalks?

During an April 23 discussion session, the first of its kind for the city's newly-convened ADA committee, attendees expressed several concerns: A top priority was the city's ailing sidewalks, which in some places are broken and irregular.

Those rough terrains can prove difficult to navigate for those without physical challenges, let alone the differently abled.

While Turpin knows a refit of the sidewalks is needed, that work could take time, even as the city wins "Safe Routes to School" grants which focus on providing improved pathways for students around Linton-Stockton schools.

It also will cost considerable amounts of money.

"In our plan, there's a dollar figure just for sidewalks only, a dollars million or so," Turpin. "That's the whole town, just for sidewalks only."

The city's efforts toward ADA compliance have been ongoing since the act passed in 1990.

Many of the city's renovations and efforts have been tied to ADA compliance, Turpin has said, including the Downtown Revitalization Project as well as work on Main Street, Eighth Street, Fifth Street and the Safe Routes to School programs.

Turpin's also confident that the A.M. Risher Pool will be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act through the installation of a wheelchair lift and ramp at the pool.

All public swimming pools must be compliant with ADA requirements by the end of 2012, though the pool board expects to have the work done and ready for its slated opening next spring.

"Everything's going on time with that," Turpin said.

"We have to order and get our order in to get the pool open. There is a grace period -- a little bit of one -- but we're trying to do it by the next season."

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