HUMBOLDT - The Humboldt City Council was asked to make sidewalks more accessible to people with disabilities Monday.
Melissa Honeyman, chairwoman of the West Fork Services Accessibility Committee, told the council there are areas in town which do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The committee, composed of staff and consumers, was formed to try to make the Humboldt community more accessible for people with disabilities, she said.
"We have some concerns about the curbs not being able to be accessible to all individuals with disabilities," Honeyman said.
The ADA requires all sidewalks to be free of obstacles such as cracks, to have curb ramps and have detectable warnings to let the visually impaired know when they are approaching a curb she said.
It is not a project that needs to be done immediately, but perhaps over the next 10 years, she said.
Mayor Walter Jensen said it was more of a responsibility for homeowners than for the city. He asked City Administrator Aaron Burnett if the city could force homeowners to make the improvements.
Burnett said he would check into it.
"Whenever the city does a street project they ensure the sidewalks meet ADA standards," he said. "Whenever we have an opportunity, we put in a ramp."
The committee was not asking the city to put in new sidewalks where there are not any, but to make the current sidewalks compliant, Honeyman said.
"We cannot get a consumer that we have in a wheelchair from Ninth Street to West Fork Services, to work, without walking on the road," Honeyman said.
Burnett asked Honeyman to come up with a list of areas in the city where the committee has complaints.
In other business, the council approved an engineering agreement with Clapsaddle-Garber Associates Inc., Marshalltown, for engineering services in connection with fencing improvements at the airport required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Councilman Joe Hadar questioned the $14,600 cost for engineering services.
"The engineering payments are pretty ridiculous when you get to airport work," Burnett said. "The FAA requires a lot of correspondence."
The project is part of an Iowa Department of Transportation Grant which covers 85 percent of the cost.