Valdosta Mayor to eliminate disability barriers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta Mayor to eliminate disability barriers

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February 29, 2008

Valdosta - A South Georgia Mayor says barriers that people with disabilities face are holding his city back.  And now he hopes to do something about it.

"It opened our eyes to barriers that someone like myself would not notice on a daily basis," Fretti says.

A small study compiled by the Mayors Council for Persons with Disabilities and the College of Applied Sociology at Valdosta State University pointed out many barriers that disabled people in Valdosta face everyday, often unnoticed by the rest of the community.

"Anything from access to a building, even going down a hallway to entering a bathroom to crossing the street," Fretti adds.

He now wants to begin a bigger study that will help him eliminate those barriers altogether.

"It's important when you want to eliminate barriers to figure out what are the top barriers and where you need to commit your time and energy to make the most impact," says Kimberly Tanner, Director of the Access Office for Students with Disabilities at VSU.

"We can then have probably an implementation plan after we see all of our barriers," Fretti adds.

And once again, the students at VSU will be asked to help.

"We get someone's who's local, they care about it and it helps the college of applied science or any department we choose over there, keeps money local and help educate students as well," Fretti says.

Tanner agrees.  "It certainly gives the masters students a very great experience and certainly very relevant experience. It's great when you are able to do something that makes a difference."

To truly create a city without limits by identifying and breaking all barriers in the community.

Mayor Fretti has submitted a request to Senator Tim Golden for $25,000 to begin the study. They hope to have it by the end of the session.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=Valdisabilitiesstudy

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