Disabilities Comm. Seeking Grant for All-Abilities Day This Summer at Revere Beach

The Revere Commission on Disabilities (COD) held its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, March 12. Chair Ralph DeCicco, vice-chair Pauline Perno, Mario Grimanis, and Jason Barone were in attendance for the meeting. City Councillor Robert J. Haas III also was on hand for the session, which was conducted via Zoom.

Haas and Perno discussed with the members the possibility of forming a program to provide snow shoveling services for both senior citizens and persons with disabilities, similar to what the City of Somerville has undertaken.

“This is something I’ve thought about from the time I was working at the Senior Center,” said Haas, “and the Somerville program is something that could be a model for Revere.”

Perno added that many communities on the No. Shore have formed partnerships with their youth centers to provide year-round assistance to seniors and disabled persons.

“I totally agree with the four-season program,” said Haas, with DeCicco adding that the social interaction between older and younger residents of a community is a valuable component of these programs.

DeCicco reported on the monthly Zoom meeting of CODA (the Commissions on Disabilities Alliance) that was held on March 6. The highlights of the meeting were as follows:

— Members from various commissions discussed the Mass. Office on Disabilities (MOD) grant program and explored the reasons why a city or town is awarded or denied a grant. DeCicco explained that there are two kinds of grants, planning and project grants, with the latter requiring a shovel-ready project. He said that in the past, the grants had  to be applied for in the fall and were not awarded until January. However, he noted that the grant funds had to be spent by the end of that fiscal year — June 30 — which meant that the time constraints were significant.

However, DeCicco said that the application deadline has been moved up to April, with the awards expected to be made in the early fall, which should provide for a more reasonable time frame for receiving and spending the funds within the fiscal year; 

— COD members had questions regarding whether cities and towns can offer transportation services for people with disabilities to the polls on election days. DeCicco said that cities and towns do not offer rides to the polls, but candidates often do. 

Julie Brown, the new President of the Revere SEPAC (the Special Education Parents Advisory Council), provided some updates that DeCicco read aloud:

— At the last SEPAC meeting, discussions were had on the start of its document archive that lists resources available in our community for SEPAC members and other households dealing with disabilities. It can be found here and was distributed at the meeting: https://tinyurl.com/sepac-family-resource

— SEPAC is working on scheduling April-June trainings and will be including a “Know Your Rights training, the new IEP Process, and Conservatorships.”

DeCicco next reported that the Revere COD has applied for a grant from Save The Harbor/Save The Bay to conduct an All-Abilities Day at Revere Beach this summer.

“If we are awarded the grant, we would be planning an event called, ‘All-Abilities Day at the Beach’,” said DeCicco. “This would take place one day in the summer at Revere Beach. This event would be similar to the one that Triangle Inc. has held for the past several years at Constitution Beach in East Boston.”

DeCicco mentioned that Triangle, Inc. would be willing to provide consulting services to Revere if the grant is awarded. He also said that the city’s Parks and Rec. Dept. would partner with the COD and added that DCR would be asked to provide beach-accessible equipment for the event.

“This would be a huge, huge event to bring to the city,” said Perno.

Perno brought up the issue of dog owners in the city making sure that their dogs are leashed so as not to create a potential problem for persons with disabilities, especially for those who have service dogs, who have been trained not to respond if they are attacked by another dog.

The meeting concluded with Perno reading the commission’s monthly announcement:

“The Commission on Disabilities office number is 781-286-8267. Residents can also call Revere 311 directly and speak to their staff Monday through Friday. They will answer most questions, but if they are unable to or if you want to speak to our department directly or schedule an appointment, please ask to be transferred to the Disability office. If we are unavailable, please leave a detailed message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

“As always, please tell us if you want something discussed or added to our monthly meeting agenda. You can let us know if you would like to speak on any issue or concern. The Commission is here to help and assist all the disabled residents and families of Revere.”

The next meeting of the commission (via Zoom) will be held Tuesday, April 9, at 6:00 PM.

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