Improving accessibility and safety for individuals with disabilities

(Posted Jan. 16, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The village of Mount Sterling recently received a state grant to increase accessibility and inclusivity for individuals with disabilities.

Susan Thompson, superintendent of the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities, made village leaders aware of the grant opportunity in December. The village applied and recently received word they got the grant. The amount is $137,500.

Part of the money will go toward making streets safer. This includes creation of high-visibility crosswalks that are wider than typical crosswalks, reflective at night, and ADA compliant. Priority will be placed on creating these crosswalks in the downtown area at intersections with state routes where traffic is high.

“These improvements will make it abundantly clear there is a crosswalk there which is good for both pedestrians and drivers,” said Mayor Andy Drake.

The village hopes to use some of the grant money to install a push-button system with audible alerts at crosswalks in the downtown area to assist individuals with hearing impairments.

Other safety improvements will include installation of motion sensor stop signs on secondary streets that experience relatively high traffic due to proximity to state routes. The signs flash when pedestrians are in the crosswalk. The village also plans to install a path extension/ramp to the new handicap-accessible swing set recently installed at Mason Park.

Regarding crosswalks and stop signs, the plan is to stretch the dollars as far as possible, Drake said, taking care of high priority areas first, then broadening coverage as funding permits.

As for inclusivity improvements, part of the grant money will go toward the installation of Braille signage at town hall for visitors with vision impairments, as well as the purchase of an audio-visual system capable of providing real-time closed-captioning so individuals with hearing impairments can participate in public meetings.

Drake said residents will see these changes going into place soon as the grant program requires that funding be used by the end of this year.

“I think it’s safe to say that everyone across the community will benefit from these improvements,” he said. “I can’t thank our partners at the county board of developmental disabilities enough for working so tightly with us on the grant process. We were happy to get the results back so quickly.”

 

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