N.Baltimore promises to make downtown accessible PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor   
Friday, 08 February 2013 09:55
North_Baltimore_handicap_Concerns.3876_story
Megan Amburgey was at Tuesday's North Baltimore council meeting voicing concerns on handicap accessibility downtown North Baltimore. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
NORTH BALTIMORE - A local citizen had questions on handicap accessibility plans for downtown at Tuesday's village council meeting.
Mitchell Road resident Megan Gonyer-Amburger pointed out that the downtown area is severally lacking in handicap accessible sidewalks.
Gonyer-Amburger, who uses a wheelchair, expressed her frustration of having to enter Main Street traffic to get to an intersection to access a curb. She added that someone actually honked at her recently in protest of that practice.
Having snow pushed to the curb this time of year also doesn't help, she added.
She said she knows the village is planning a Downtown Revitalization Project, and offered her ideas to council.
Councilman Jeff Bretz, who chairs the Economic and Community Development Committee, took Gonyer-Amburger up on her offer.
He is working on an ordinance to replace council's current outline for sidewalks. He promised the new ordinance will be very detailed. 
According to village Administrator Kathy Healy, any sidewalks added in town has to be, by law, handicap accessible on the corners of every intersection.
"That doesn't mean we can't go above and beyond that," Healy said. "We do know it is a problem in this community."
She said the village has applied for Transportation Enhancement Program grants through the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, but won't qualify for funds until 2019. Those monies would be used to replace sidewalks, curbs and paving downtown as part of the Downtown Revitalization Project.
The village, rather than wait that long, is looking for other funding options, Healy said, but no timeline has been set to complete the project.
"We're going to try to not only follow the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but go above and beyond that," she stated.
Gonyer-Amburger suggested sidewalk access in front of buildings as well, where handicap parking spots are located.
Also at the meeting, council hired Katelyn Rothenbuhler as an on-call, part-time dispatcher for the police department, to boost manpower now that one dispatcher is on sick leave and another soon will be taking maternity leave.
Council also learned that village officials met with Henry Township Trustees to work on a fire agreement between the two entities. The contract will be discussed at council's Committee of the Whole meeting on Feb. 12.
Healy also reported meeting again with Rich Rowe, who claims his water line was damaged when a new sewer line was installed last year in front of his Poplar Street home.
Healy said that documents from Helms and Sons, which did the work, and Peterman and Associates, which managed the project, did not show water line cuts in Rowe's yard. She stated that Rowe can't prove the village did anything wrong.
Rowe is asking for $1,025 from the village to pay for repairs of his line.
"When you pay a bill and admit no wrong, that opens up a whole can of worms," warned village Solicitor Chet Marcin.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 10:45
 

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