HUDSON — The Common Council will vote at its next meeting on whether to authorize the mayor to sign a settlement in which the city will agree to set a time line to comply with Americans with Disability Act regulations.
The proposed agreement between the city and federal government was brought about by a complaint filed by three unnamed citizens against the city alleging, among other things, that Hudson’s sidewalks are inaccessible, and that there are inaccessible entrances to City Hall, Promenade Hill Park and other locations.
The federal government initiated an investigation and review of Hudson and found the city out of compliance in a number of factors. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice recently toured public spaces and found that Oakdale beach house, City Hall and Youth Center are among the spaces not ADA-compliant.
The draft settlement agreement has to be signed by Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, the Disability Rights Section Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Attorney before it goes into effect.
One of the first provisions in the agreement is that the mayor must appoint an Americans with Disabilities compliance officer within 30 days. The compliance officer will deal with complaints and determine ways to address them, Common Council President Thomas DePietro told fellow Council members at their informal meeting held at City Hall, 520 Warren St., on Monday.
At a Common Council meeting Aug. 15, 2017, Fifth Ward Alderman Dominic Merante, coordinator for the Independent Living Center office in Hudson, called on the mayor to appoint an ADA-compliance officer. The ADA coordinator would streamline any issues for people with disabilities.
“That hasn’t been done yet,” DePietro said.
The appointed ADA coordinator must be a city employee, Merante said.
Second Ward Alderwoman Tiffany Garriga has called for improved sidewalks for people with mobile disabilities, including curb cuts and ramps. She led a tour of the city’s streets in 2018 to show the difficulties in traversing the uneven sidewalks in the city.
Under the agreement, if the city alters a street or highway it must improve the curb ramps at that intersection for ADA-accessibility.
“I don’t know how were going to pay for all this,” Fifth Ward Alderwoman Eileen Halloran said.
Sidewalks in Hudson’s downtown and accessibility issues at Promenade Hill Park on Front Street would be covered as part of the city’s downtown revitalization project, plans for which are underway, DePietro said.
But there is more to be done.
“It is not expected that the settlement is going to be done in six months but it is expected that each issue here be addressed with a plan and a time line so it can be monitored,” Merante said.
Merante went on to explain that a lawsuit could come into play if the city does not show it is making attempts to address ADA-compliance issues.
The next meeting of the Common Council will be held Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in City Hall.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.