July 10, 2014
As the country celebrates the 24th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act this summer, the Vermont Center for Independent Living applauds improvements statewide to accessibility for people with disabilities.
VCIL Executive Director Sarah Launderville said, “Twenty-four years after the signing of this historic legislation we have community members and friends in the business community who are breaking down barriers that stand in the way of people with disabilities being fully included in our society. We are proud to have been able to provide technical assistance to businesses, the state of Vermont and our community to ensure that people with disabilities can access goods, services, education and the equality we deserve.”
Increased accessibility is evident in towns and alongside Vermont roadways. VCIL encourages locals and visitors alike to visit these entities modeling good accessibility and take note of how the same can be achieved in their own community.
Several municipalities deserve recognition for increased access to municipal government programs and buildings:
• Bethel play area and pool assessments.
• Bradford sidewalk and curb ramp implementation.
• Bristol’s historic Holly Hall renovations.
• East Montpelier Meeting House for accessible meeting spaces and improvements to the elementary school building.
• Granville Town Hall and clerk offices in the renovated old schoolhouse.
• The Montpelier Department of Recreation’s innovative pool handrail design and new high school entrance.
• Pedestrian and parking redesign and increased store accessibility along the Northfield Common.
• Randolph’s new downtown sidewalks and curb ramps.
• Shoreham’s substantial renovation of the Platt Memorial Library.
• Capitol City businesses modeling good wheelchair accessibility include Sarducci’s, Three Penny Taproom, Yankee Spirits and Bailey Road Boutique.
• The Capitol Showcase in Montpelier and Paramount Theater in Barre have long-modeled good access for people who are Deaf and Blind by providing hearing augmentation and audio description services for movie-goers who are Deaf and Blind.
• People with disabilities have new options for outdoor recreation via water access at Boulder Beach in Groton State Park, at the universal access walking trail at Waterbury State Reservoir, and river angling on the New Haven River at the Chuck Baser Fishing Platform in Bristol.
• VCIL applauds state government for emergency response system improvements by adding texting 911 for people who are Deaf and for training state employees in emergency evacuation for people with disabilities. The state has been proactive in modeling great accessibility in parking, bathrooms and automating doors at all of its rest areas on Interstate 89.
At its ADA Celebration on July 24, VCIL will celebrate all of these examples of improved access as well as the birthday of a landmark civil rights law. The celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Branbury State Park in Salisbury. A free picnic lunch will be provided for the first 200 attendees, and state and local dignitaries will speak. For more information about the event, contact Sue Booth at 1-800-639-1522.
VCIL extends special thanks to sponsors of this year’s ADA Celebration: Disability Rights Vermont, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council, Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, Vermont Statewide Independent Living Council, Vermont Workers’ Center and VocRehab Vermont. Other sponsors include Cabot Creamery, City Market, McKenzie Country Classics, Price Chopper and Shaw’s.
The ADA was passed in 1990 as a way to end discrimination against people with disabilities in areas of employment, state and local government and places of public accommodation.
The Vermont Center for Independent Living, a nonprofit organization directed and staffed by individuals with disabilities, works to promote the dignity, independence and civil rights of Vermonters with disabilities. Like other independent living centers across the country, VCIL is committed to cross-disability services, the promotion of active citizenship and working with others to create services that support self-determination and full participation in community life. To learn more contact Mike Charron at VCIL, Vermont’s ADA Technical Assistance and Training Provider: 1 800-639-1522 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit VCIL’s website, www.vcil.org.