Grass Valley seeking input on ADA accessibility improvements |

Grass Valley seeking input on ADA accessibility improvements

The City of Grass Valley is circulating a survey form to members of the public, asking for help identifying ways to improve access to municipal facilities, programs, services and events.

The facility user’s survey is available at city hall or at The Union’s website.

“We’re probably going to take public input for at least 2-3 weeks, then start compiling a draft plan,” said Bjorn Jones, a civil engineer with the city’s public works department.

“We’re hoping to have it in place and adopted this summer.”

Grass Valley is a small city with a small budget, and they’re projecting just $9.6 million in general fund expenditures this fiscal year.

During last year’s round of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements, they spent $5,000 in general funds, with an additional $6,000 from Regional Surface Mitigation Funds provided by the NCTC and $6,000 in gas tax funds.

“There’s a lot of issues, so where do you start?” said Ana Acton, executive director of the FREED Center for Independent Living. “There’s only so much they can budget annually for these upgrades.”

Still, Acton does give the city staff high marks.

“The city of Grass Valley has been really committed to accessibility,” she said. “They’ve also done a great job reaching out to us as an organization over the years.”

While accessibility improvements are often spearheaded by the requirements of the ADA, Acton says that people with disabilities are not the only ones using the upgrades.

“We have a large retirement population in our community that benefits from accessibility upgrades, as well as families with strollers that also take advantage of curb cuts and safe pedestrian intersection crossings,” she said.

“What we find is that communities that are designed for all users creates a safer spot for all of us whether it’s a family, kids, older people not that steady on their feet any more, or somebody blind or in a wheelchair.”

“It helps all of us,” Acton added.

The city is working with Disability Access Consultants, an Oroville-based firm, that recently completed a field investigation of existing accessibility features at the city’s various facilities.

That document is not yet complete, but its findings will be used alongside survey results to determine the priorities for this year’s round of accessibility upgrades.

To contact Staff Writer Dave Brooksher, email or call 530-477-4230.

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