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The city of East Ridge has been making moves to become more pedestrian-friendly over the last few years by funneling money toward sidewalk infrastructure and amending right-of-way ordinances, but the city is making sure to not forget about residents who use wheelchairs.

At its meeting Oct. 24, the city council unanimously voted to adopt the final draft of an Americans with Disabilities Act infrastructure transition plan that outlines a timeline to upgrade city-owned facilities with accessibility in mind.

The plan, which will bring the city into compliance with federal ADA laws, extends through 2028 if all construction goes as planned.

Every city in the state has to have a plan like this in place by Dec. 31 of this year, said City Manager Chris Dorsey.

The city began the process in 2017 and conducted a surveying process last year to guide the plan. In May, the city hosted a public forum to listen to residents' needs, like which roads should take priority.

"We did a longer timeline so we weren't hit with all the costs at once," said Amanda Bowers, the city's community involvement coordinator. "Hopefully costs won't fluctuate too much over the years."

Current estimated costs total $5,361,778 over the next nine years.

Eleven structures are included in the plan: city hall, the library, the fire and police service station, and multiple sections of Camp Jordan such as the arena and restrooms. City hall and Camp Jordan are the highest priorities due to the high volume of traffic both receive.

Americans with Disabilities Standards for Accessible Design require accessible entrances in public facilities as the first priority. Examples of this include marked parking for those with disabilities, passenger loading zones, and public sidewalks without stairs. This first phase of the project will cost roughly $228,000.

The plan also identifies Ringgold Road, South Terrace, South Germantown Road and Tombras Avenue as high priorities to add sidewalks and pedestrian crossings due to the mixed pedestrian and vehicle traffic there. This will be where the bulk of the expense comes in.

Adding sidewalks, crosswalks, curb ramps and pedestrian crossings to Ringgold Road, for example, is estimated to cost around $989,770.

Another priority is Spring Creek Road, where the Red Wolves stadium will be located. As the stadium is built and Spring Creek Road is resurfaced, the city will reach out to business owners to ensure right-of-way and infrastructures meet compliance, said Bowers.

By adopting the plan and complying with the standards, the city will have access to state and federal grants and funding to pay for the upgrades, she said. As the city acquires new facilities, these standards will be upheld.

The plan is available to be viewed at tinyurl.com/EastRidgeADA.

Email Sabrina Bodon at sbodon@timesfreepress.com

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