Middlesex County Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Americans With Disabilities Act

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY — The 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be marked July 26. On July 15, the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders will sign a proclamation declaring the county’s recommitment to the ADA.

The proclamation is part of the “2010 by 2010” campaign spearheaded by the National ADA Symposium. The drive seeks to generate 2,010 proclamations of recommitment nationwide in 2010 to signify government’s united desire to provide equality.

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“In 1990, people with disabilities celebrated the independence and dignity this legislation would provide,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Blanquita B. Valenti, chairwoman of the county’s Human Services and Senior Services Committee.  “Twenty years later, Middlesex County is proud of the physical and programmatic changes made, particularly by the municipalities, to include people with disabilities in facilities, programs, services, and all aspects of life.”

Since 1990, Middlesex County has built a brand new administration building, which features wheelchair-accessible, automatic doors, an infrared listening system and accessible bathrooms on each floor. The Board of Elections has worked to ensure polling sites are accessible, and the County Commission for Persons with Disabilities presents an annual forum on a disability-related topic.

The county also instituted Project Lifesaver, a collaborative effort between the Departments on Human Services and Senior Services and Sheriff’s Department to help locate persons who are prone to wander due to disability.

The Transportation Department increased its ridership and incorporates mainstreamed transportation for persons with disabilities on its shuttle service.

The Cultural & Heritage Commission continues to educate and advocate for access to the arts.  All Commission materials are available in a range of accessible formats.

One of the crowning jewels of the county parks system is the Level Playing Fields complex, which is believed to be the first 100 percent accessible sports facility in the nation. The popular Plays-in-the-Park series includes wheelchair seating, sign language interpreted performances, audio description, open captioning and sensory seminars.

“We have a wide array of programs and services to reach all our disabled residents, many of whom are very young,” Valenti said.

To mark the 20th anniversary of ADA, Middlesex County is calling upon all its departments and all 25 municipalities to observe this important anniversary with a training or event in July, or by simply noting the anniversary of the ADA.

“Middlesex County is committed to serve all its residents and by recommitting ourselves to the ADA, we are ensuring that we do just that,” said Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano.


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