by eila in Accessibility, City Finances, Civil and Human Rights, Development and Zoning, Government Reform, Somerville By The Numbers
Posted on March 25, 2010 at 11:23 pm
Last Modified on March 26, 2010 at 2:41 pm
The City of Somerville was one of 10 cities honored as an All America City by the National League of Cities in 2009. During the announcement, the audience was informed that, “this is a community that uses information to improve the lives of its residents.” Here’s some information about the inaccessible DPW facility:
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS 1 Franey Road, Somerville, MA
Built 1900. City improved. 14,946 square feet
Replacement Cost Less Depreciation : 2,786,800
Above, left photo: Somerville Department of Public Works Facility Entrance. 2 sets of stairs before reaching the door. Above, right photo: Somerville Department of Public Works, Side Entrance. 4 steps including sidewalk step and doorstep.
Programs located within this totally inaccessible municipal facility include:
• Animal Control
• DPW Administration & Finance
• Buildings & Grounds
• Inspectional Services
• Zoning & Planning Board applications, documents.
DPW General Fund Expenditures Approved for Building & Grounds FY09: $ 9,119,603
DPW General Fund Expenditures Approved for Administration & Finance FY09: $ 1,376,861
Programs paid for out of other Departmental Allocations: Building Inspection Division is funded through the Office of Sponsored Programs and Community Development (OSPCD). OSPCD is approximately 80% (Federal) HUD-funded, in addition to our municipal General Funds budget, etc.
THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS @ 1 FRANEY ROAD IS NOT AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER, AND IS AN ENTIRELY INACCESSIBLE PUBLIC FACILITY
(DPW’s Water and Sewer Departments, located next door, underwent a major renovation since 2006, and now has a street level entrance.)
Impacts of DPW’s inaccessibility:
- Employment Opportunities not Equal: DPW staffing includes 21 desk jobs, plus over 160 non-desk positions. Qualified workers who do not use stairs are currently excluded from enjoying at least the desk employment opportunities within this facility.
- Information and Communication Access Barriers Deny Participation: Mobility impaired individuals wishing to look at Building permits and design plans are prevented from gaining access to those documents in an equitable manner, because they are not placed online or in any accessible location.
- Deaf Culture Denied Employment and Participation: The DPW programs have no TTY or video relay communications access; so Hearing and Speech-impaired participants are not welcomed to call staff, or to work here.
- Blind Culture Denied Employment and Participation: No signage means that individuals with visual impairments are always forced to ask for help, rather than enjoying the dignity of finding their way independently.
SOME RECOMMENDATIONS: Move the public programs out of this facility. Invest in a whole Building Re-design that will include an Accessible Primary Entrance, an elevator shaft that connects all floors, fully accessible employer and public spaces and rooms, and 21st century communications technology hook-ups.
Money isn’t the major barrier to Civil Rights and Inclusion in Somerville. Exclusionary attitudes are. As a community, we are barred from equitable development and a 21st century culture because we are under the shadows of a decider culture that continuously puts paid to the notion that individuals who can’t climb stairs, or who read Braille, or who speak ASL, etc., are unequal constituents.
Here’s looking directly at you, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. Today is your 2,274th day in office as Somerville’s mayor, and you still haven’t learned how to share.