Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe said today that he is working to establish a establish a Commission on People with Disabilities, “which will move beyond the requirements of the ADA and help those with disabilities participate more fully in community life.”
An estimated 10 to 15 percent of the town’s population reports having a disability, he said.
Marpe made the announcement on the today’s 25th anniversary of the signing of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
He said the planned commission aims to ensure that Westport “is a town where people with disabilities have the opportunity to enjoy full and equal access to lives of independence, productivity, inclusion and self-determination.”
Marpe lauded the ADA, saying that the Westport Human Services Commission and the Westport Weston United Way established the Community Inclusion Task Force (CITF) in 2007.
He said the CITF’s purpose is to improve the quality of life for all Westport and Weston residents “by ensuring that the needs of residents of all ages with disabilities of all kinds are addressed in order that they may participate fully in community life as they choose.”
As a result, he said the Parks & Recreation Department now offers adaptive programs for children with special needs, and its catalog incorporates preferred terminology as recommended by the CITF. The Town Plan of Conservation & Development also includes a statement recommended by the CITF.
“When provisions are made for public access, consideration shall be given to universal accessibility to ensure that the needs of residents of all ages with disabilities of all kinds are addressed in order that they may participate fully in community life,” it says.
A survey developed by the Steering Committee responsible for developing the proposal to Marpe—the Westport Commission on People with Disabilities Survey—is available here.