With the goal of expanding accessibility within the City of Charlestown, Mayor Treva Hodges executed an Executive Order to establish a Disability Advisory Committee for the city.
“This advisory committee will perform an essential function for the city by informing decision makers about ways to enhance quality of life initiatives and remove barriers,” said Hodges. “We want Charlestown to be a city where all residents and visitors feel welcome.”
The committee is to review community spaces and programs for opportunities to expand accessibility. Serving as an advisory committee, they will offer advice to Hodges, the Parks Department, plus other government bodies, boards and commissions when necessary.
The first meeting will be Monday, June 12 at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall (304 Main Cross Street). All meetings are open to the public.
Consisting of seven members, the committee will be diversified with three members who live with a disability, two members who are guardians of a minor who lives with a disability, one who is a representative of a disability service provider, and one member who is an adult advocate. All members must reside in the Charlestown city limits, or serve in an official capacity within the Charlestown city schools.
The inaugural committee will consist of Amy Benavides, Dale Best, Malinda Feltner, Cindy Grose, Liz Hardy, Marissa Knoebel, and Ashley Tomes. At the first meeting, a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and a Secretary will be elected. The committee will be required to meet a minimum of four times a year, but may meet more frequently if agreed upon by the committee.
Efforts in recent years to offer programming and improved access to people with disabilities have been a goal of the city, including construction of an accessible playground (scheduled to open by the end of 2023), Light Up The Night at Christmas, special events, and being designated a Hidden Heroes Community for military caregivers.
Residents are encouraged to provide feedback about improving services at this link.