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Disability-Friendly Sioux Falls

August 24, 2011, 6:05 PM by Peggy Moyer

Disability-Friendly Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS, SD - The city of Sioux Falls hopes to become a friendlier city to persons with disabilities.

The city of Sioux Falls is working to update its plan to make the city more accessible for those with disabilities.

If you saw the video of the man in the wheelchair last January, you probably remember his story too. The man took his wheelchair out onto Minnesota Avenue because the nearby sidewalk was full of snow and ice. The KELOLAND News story prompted Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether to pledge to do better to keep the city’s sidewalks safe.

"The city council and the mayor are striving not only to be in compliance with the law, but go beyond it and really be a very accessible city," Sioux Falls City Attorney Dave Pfeifle said. 

That's why two national consultants are in Sioux Falls this week. They've been hired to help the city not only evaluate it's compliance with American with Disability Act rules, but also find ways to be a more disabilities-friendly city.

The highest priority identified has been transportation around the city in all seasons. Persons with disabilities have asked for more attention to the city's sidewalks and curb cuts.

Other items being looked at include city services in general, the parks department and access to city buildings.

"It will really identify some key areas that maybe we need to work on and some things that we are doing right," Pfeifle said.

"They are taking a very proactive approach. Other cities don't address it until there is a lawsuit," ADA consultant Jim Felakos said.

The city attorney hopes a new ADA transition plan is in place by next spring.  In the meantime, the city wants to hear from people in order to get the most comprehensive plan possible.

Anyone with input for the new plan can contact the city's ADA coordinator at 605-367-8745. A website is being created to help gather feedback and share information as well.

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