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Phoenix aims to be ADA model city.

The Phoenix Commission on Disability Concerns is turning the city's Municipal Building into a national example of cost-effective renovation to accommodate persons with disabilities.

For more than a year, the Commission on Disability Concerns, an office of the Equal Opportunity Department, studied ways to bring government buildings in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act which took effect in January.

Already, rest rooms on every other floor have been made accessible with 5-foot turn-around spaces; half of all drinking fountains are at the lower ADA height; elevators have braille markings and a computerized voice announces the floors; levers have replaced door knobs; and flashing fire alarms have been installed for the hearing impaired.

In addition, commission members conceived of a "dog park" where vision-impaired employees can take their guide dogs to relieve themselves - an idea not covered in the federal legislation. A sign language interpreter is available with 72 hours' notice for all city council meetings and an FM listening system was installed for the hearing-impaired.

Appointed by Mayor Paul Johnson, the commission conceived the idea in December 1990 and has worked with six city departments since it obtained city council approval last year to proceed with the project using Community Development Block Grant funds.

The renovation is scheduled for completion by the end of September.

On Oct. 16, the City of Phoenix and the Arizona State University College of Architecture will host the "Barrier-free Design Conference 1992: Implementing the Americans With Disabilities Act in Existing Facilities." For information, call Michele Martinez (602) 262-8242 (TDD 534-1557), or write: City of Phoenix, Equal Opportunity Department, 500 West Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85003.
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Title Annotation:City Ideas That Work; Phoenix, Arizona; Americans with Disabilities Act
Author:Murph, Quinn
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Aug 10, 1992
Words:271
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