FISHERS, Ind. (March 18, 2016) — City leaders in Fishers are asking for the public's input to better serve people with special needs in the community.
The city's American Disabilities Act Coordinator, Caleb Gutshall, has brought back the ADA task force to determine the challenges facing people with special needs and prioritize what should be fixed first.
The task force met several years ago to improve the city's sidewalks and curbs. Several government buildings in Fishers, including city hall, are not ADA compliant.
“Phase two will be starting to look at our facilities," Fishers' Deputy Mayor Leah McGrath said. “Some of those upgrades can be the type of door handle you have to what the entrance is like. Are you doorways wide enough? Is your parking identified in the right way?"
Stacey Oldham, of Fishers, has multiple sclerosis is confined to her scooter at times. She's a member of the task force and hopes the group also focuses on education.
"How can we educate others about our disability as well as those who have the disabilities, what’s available to them," Oldham said.
In addition to education, she believes the enforcement of current codes and laws needs to be emphasized. She says she often finds people abusing handicap spots around town leaving her nowhere to park.
“For someone like me, what that means is I pull in and don’t have a place to unload the scooter. That’s very difficult. I have to just go home and I’m not able to shop," Oldham said.
The task force will hold quarterly meetings and the next one will be this summer.
"I hope (Fishers) becomes a community across the state that is known for ‘wow I can go there and they get it,'" Oldham said. "They understand my needs and they understand the purpose of those who are disabled and their ability to contribute."
To sign up for Fishers’ ADA task force or find out when the next meeting will be, email the ADA Coordinator Calel Gutshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.