City Departments Respond to Letter from Disabilities Comm.

The Revere Commission on Disabilities held its regular monthly meeting last Tuesday evening, December 14.

Chair Ralph DeCicco, vice-chair Pauline Perno, and members, Mario Grimanis, Jason Barone, and Enza Goodwin were on hand for the meeting that was held via Zoom.

The principal discussion of the evening centered around a letter that the commissioners had sent to various city departments last month asking for the departments to enforce the city’s ordinances pertaining to matters that affect the ability of persons with disabilities to use the city’s sidewalks safely.

The letter was sent to the mayor’s office, the Parking Department, and the Inspectional Services Dept. (ISD). The commissioners outlined a number of specific issues that create hazardous conditions for persons with disabilities,  including the placement of trash and recyclable bins on sidewalks, yard waste pushed onto sidewalks, cars parked on sidewalks, large vehicles that overhang driveways onto sidewalks, and construction equipment and port-a-johns that are placed on sidewalks.

Poor lighting also was presented as another issue that makes traversing the city a hazardous proposition for the disabled.

Although none of the city officials who received the letter were able to attend the meeting, chairperson DeCicco told his fellow commissioners that Michael Wells from ISD said his employees are working to resolve issues with the trash containers and with the Building Dept. to resolve construction equipment on sidewalks. 

The Parking Dept. also said it is trying to resolve the issue of vehicles overhanging driveways and parking on sidewalks.

A communication was received from the mayor’s office regarding the availability of forms for senior citizens and disabled citizens to apply for a reduction in their property tax bills and their water and sewer bills if they are facing financial hardship.

A person may receive up to $200 in relief. Funding comes from voluntary contributions by Revere taxpayers. Applications are available on-line or by calling the city treasurer’s office at 781-286-8136.

DeCicco informed his colleagues of a meeting he recently attended, along with state legislators, state officials, and advocacy groups such as Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, that discussed improving access to the state’s beaches for individuals with disabilities.

DeCicco noted that on Revere Beach for example, there is no availability of beach buggies and there are no mats that go over the sand at the portals to the beach. He also said there is a need for automated signalization in order to access the beach from across Revere Beach Boulevard.

“Some cutouts are too high for persons with disabilities to get to the beach,” added DeCicco, “and there are very few handicapped parking spots. The legislature should allocate a percentage of the DCR’s annual budget specifically for projects and events for persons with disabilities.”

DeCicco  also informed his colleagues that the vacancy on the commission has been filled. He said that new member Robert Brown will join the commission at its January meeting.

Vice-chair Pauline Perno concluded the meeting by reading the commission’s current COVID-19 protocols:

“The Commission on Disabilities, due to Covid 19 and the safety of all residents, is trying to limit in-person appointments due to the unavailability and use at our present office location. Residents can speak to staff from our 311 Constituent Service Center Monday through Friday when you call our office at 781-286-8267. They will be able to answer most questions, but if they are unable to or if you would like a call back from our office, please ask to be transferred to the Disability Office’s voicemail and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

“As always, please let us know if you would like something discussed or brought up and 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 commission’s next meeting: (via Zoom) is scheduled for Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 6:00 PM.

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