City grapples with ADA compliance despite advances

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Administrative assistant and Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator Kim Stryker provided a report to city council Monday regarding the progress in compliance with ADA regulations. Stryker said the city has made considerable strides to provide access and make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, and indicated the two largest roadblocks preventing 100 percent ADA compliance for Eureka Springs are terrain and historic distinction. 

Even so, progress has been made by training all the front-line staff members on relay telephone services for the hearing and speech impaired, establishing closed captioning services for all council meetings, updating the Parks administration building entrance to receive visitors in wheelchairs, and planning an improved ADA regulation ramp for the Auditorium. 

Alderman Harry Meyer questioned if there was any plan to make city hall ADA compliant, and Stryker reminded him that the city does not own city hall, but rents it. Stryker read from the ADA self-assessment of the city hall administrative building, “In order to reduce physical barriers existing in the current City Hall location and administrative offices it is recommended that we search for an alternate location for these functions.” There was however no indication from the Mayor Butch Berry or Stryker that city hall is going to be relocated.

“I would think that at some point we should plan on, perhaps, building a city hall that is accessible,” Meyer said.

Sirens could cause accidents

Alderman Mickey Schneider said she believes there should be warning signs on roadways indicating when the emergency sirens are to be tested to prevent accidents while driving in the areas closest to the sirens. 

“If we don’t put some kind of warning signs up the road before these various places where it’s so loud, we’re going to have a visitor wreck and sue our butts off,” she told council. Schneider made a motion to install notification signs, but the motion died.