The Town of Chesterton will continue, as funding permits, to upgrade
sidewalks, curbs, and public buildings in compliance with the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA).
That’s the nutshell of a so-called ADA “Transition Plan” adopted by the Town
Council at its meeting Monday night.
The Transition Plan is a mandate of the U.S. Department of Justice and a
condition of receiving any federal funds.
Specifically, as the plan’s Executive Summary puts it, the point of the
effort is “to develop policies and practices for implementing pedestrian
improvements within the public right-of-way” and “to provide safe and usable
pedestrian facilities for all pedestrians,” in compliance with the ADA.
Practically this means installing curb ramps or other sloped areas at all
locations where walkways cross curbs as well as upgrading public facilities
“Due to budget constraints, the moneys for these repairs are not available
in the town’s annual budget,” the Executive Summary states. “The town will
continue to commit $10,000 a year to sidewalk and curb ramp repairs and
$5,000 to building and facility compliancy until all the ADA deficiencies
Much of the plan is a catalogue of existing deficiencies. Thus, for
instance, it notes that the mirror in the men’s restroom at the town hall is
10 inches too high and the sink half an inch too low; the mirror in the
women’s restroom, two inches too high. At Dogwood Park, meanwhile, handicap
accessible signage needs to be installed in the parking lot by the
The results of the curb-cut compliance survey: of the 615 street corners in
town, about 22 percent meet ADA standards; 381 need ramp replacement; and
100 need curb cuts and/or sidewalk replacement. The total estimated cost for
repairing all noncompliant sidewalk crossings in town: $215,000.
The Transition Plan does two other things: it formally designates Associate
Town Engineer Chris Nesper as Town ADA Coordinator; and it formalizes an ADA
Complaint/Grievance form which persons may access and file.
Member Jim Ton, R-1st, took a moment to thank Nesper and Town Engineer Mark
O’Dell for preparing the Transition Plan. “Its well done,” he said. “And we
didn’t have to contract it out. We did it in-house and saved a lot of
“Not doing this report has severe consequences,” Ton added. “For one thing,
federal funds would be cut off for projects.”