SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — During a Town Hall meeting on March 22, 2023, the community came forth to bring light to current accessibility issues within the city of San Angelo and to ask questions about accommodations within the plans to renovate the River Stage.
Recent ADA projects within the last 10 – 15 years include renovations to the auditorium, local parks and Chadbourne street downtown. The City has also expanded interpreting services, updated accessibility information on the city website and added closed captions to SATV Optimum Channel 17.
The accessibility score of the city website has been improved from 71 percent to 85 percent and will continue to be improved after the city approved a contract with a service provider to further increase its accessibility.
An upcoming ADA project includes upgrading the City Council Chambers’ audio and video capabilities which will include assisted listening devices, an ASL interpreter capability in video broadcast and additional closed captioning.
According to Brian Groves, Communications Director, the technology in the City Chambers has not been updated since 2015. This has caused recent failures in microphones, system failures and timers during City Council meetings.
During public comment, the Chair for San Angelo Advocacy for Access, Kim Henry, spoke for Ashley Moheski who said, “Don’t just stick a ramp somewhere or pave a sidewalk and call it accessible, actually think about the potential dangers of how it’s built or paved such as the steep ramp on Chadbourne.”
Henry continued by pointing out the accessibility plans proposed in the design to renovate the River stage did not include anything regarding technology.
“The same technology that is needed for here (City Chambers) is literally the same technology for all city services, programs and facilities and that includes the River Stage,” said Henry.
Additional comments made by citizens asked that any implemented ADA renovations be made so that they not only meet ADA requirements but are also functional.
“I think what’s called the ‘death ramp’ actually meets ADA requirements it’s just not practical if you’re really in a wheelchair,” said one citizen.
Currently, there are not any parking lots that directly serve the River Stage and additional concerns were brought forth regarding accessible parking and routes to the River Stage entrance as well as a lack of rails on stairs.
Several commenters raised doubts about whether city authorities could be trusted to make San Angelo a more accessible city. Several claimed that many accessible locations in San Angelo are not actually functional for those with disabilities.
“The things that need to change is the way we think whenever we begin thinking and we begin planning these projects, that needs to put disability as a priority because all that does is increase the useability, it increases the access, it increases the safety, it compliments our city and what we want to be,” said one advocate with Disability Connections.
To watch the full Town Hall meeting go here.
For more information or to ask questions regarding accessibility and accommodations in San Angelo, residents can go to Cosatx.us/ada or contact Theresa James at (325) 657-4407 / email@example.com