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Sylvania approves $55,000 for curb fixes

Sylvania city council has approved a measure to spend about $55,000 for sidewalk ramps to comply with federal regulations designed to give greater mobility to the disabled.

The ramps will be the fifth phase of the city's program and will put nearly all of the sidewalks within national guidelines, according to Jeff Ballmer, director of public service.

The only exceptions, he said, will be for current street construction projects, one on Erie Street and another on Maplewood Avenue, that will comply with the standards when they are completed.

Mr. Ballmer said that although only streets built or improved since 1992 are covered under federal law, Sylvania intends to continue the project so that all of its sidewalks aid the mobility of those who are disabled.

“It's not just that it is the law for some of the sidewalks, but it's the right thing to do,” Mr. Ballmer said.

The city began its program in 1999 when a lawsuit was threatened based on the Americans With Disabilities Act on behalf of those effected. At that time, Mr. Ballmer said the city had identified about 35 sites where sidewalks and curb accesses were deficient.

In most cases the sidewalk ramp was either too steep to be easily negotiated or had a lip, which increased the danger of tipping over for someone in a wheelchair. At the conclusion of the fifth phase, he said, Sylvania will have corrected the problem at about 165 intersections in the city.

When the phase is completed, the city will have spent about $230,000 to bring its sidewalks into compliance.

“We will have addressed all of the streets constructed since 1992, but we will determine where there are problems at other intersections and will continue the program,” Mr. Ballmer said.

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