The local St. Augustine news desk received a report of a cost-saving measure being employed by the city in their continuing effort to make city sidewalks safer and more accessible for those who are handicapped.
In 2001, the City of St. Augustine was sued contesting violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act by Access Now and handicapped St. Augustine resident Robert Jones. When Jones died in 2006, Merrill Paul Roland, who has an artificial leg, took over for Jones in the lawsuit.
According to City Attorney Ron Brown, at a regular Monday night meeting on July 23, 2007, the City Commission unanimously approved settlement of the lawsuit by agreeing to spend $650,000, over seven years, to bring the city up to ADA compliance. $100,000 spent by the city fixing ADA violations in the prior year, would be deducted from the settlement.
Last year, the city entered into an agreement with Precision Sidewalk Safety for turning city sidewalks into smooth and level walking areas; making all city sidewalks “no trip zones.”
The PSS method is patented, more effective and less expensive than conventional methods used by most governmental entities.
The company utilizes a patented cutting technology which reaches completely between both edges of the connecting sidewalk — producing a great looking result without the cost and inconvenience of closing, breaking up and replacing portions of the sidewalks.
The saving is estimated to be approximately one-third of the cost of the conventional method for adherence to the ADA.
In November of last year, PSS began their work in the area of Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.
This month the company will be completing the sidewalks in all the Historic Preservation areas of the city from Bridge St. north to Orange St. and Cordova St. east to Avenida Menendez.
The area in and around City Hall has been completed.