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New Commission Lending a Hand to Those with Disabilities in Stow

The commission's goal is to make Stow accessible through infrastructure and programming.

Handicap accessibility in public places could be improved and a new group established by Mayor Sara Drew plans to get those wheels in motion.

Stow resident and Commissions on Disabilities member knows that improvements could be made first-hand.

Toppin said his daughter had some access problems at while temporarily disabled and ran into some troubles when she had a field trip.

"She was able to attend the field trip, but I had to take a day off work and provide her transportation to and from the field trip as well as provide her access during the trip," he said. 

So when the opportunity arose to become part of a commission with a goal for improved disability access, Toppin jumped on board. 

"I would like to see this committee take a look at the city as a whole and see what areas we can improve on to help provide services and access to our fellow citizens with disabilities," he said. "I would like to see a service book created giving our disabled citizens resources they can contact to provide services such as lawn care, cleaning, grocery shopping, or even to assist the disabled members of our community at maybe a lesser expense."

Drew said the commission's goal as a whole is to make recommendations to city officials on infrastructure and programming improvements. 

Some improvement suggestions have included improved programing with the parks and rec department, infrastructure improvements and establishing a mentoring program.

"Being ADA [American Disabilities Act] accessible is required in the city, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be more user-friendly," said Drew about wanting to create the volunteer-based commission. "I’m really excited ... I don’t know other cities that have done anything quite like this. I think it will be a good way to demonstrate that Stow has a commitment to every citizen."

There are five total volunteer members who will serve a four-year term. Drew explained that all of the members are either personally have a disability or have an immediate family member with a disability.

Toppin joins Stephen Zuravel, Michelle Hasenstaub, Richard Brandon and Joan Dorow. Drew said the group will meet, at a minimum, four times a year. A meeting is scheduled soon to select a chair of the commission.

Council's Roads and Safety committee will also be discussing the accessibility of sidewalks for those who are handicap. On the agenda for April 23 at 5:30 p.m. is the handicap accessibility of the Graham Road sidewalk.

What areas in Stow do you think need to be more accessible?

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