As a public relations company in Berkeley Springs, we are networking to gather support for improving our area's compliance with the American With Disabilities Act. Here is what we have done thusfar:
Brought this to the attention of the community action group, Morgan County Improvement Organization. Reviewed the American's With Disabilities Act. See Here and applicable West Virginia Law. Was told by Kim Nuckles from the state that this falls within Title III of the act. Reviewed the parking study done for Berkeley Springs 2009.
Encouraged others to get involved through social media and added information about our concerns to this website and to the site for Travel Morgan County. Travel Morgan County will begin seeking educational materials for this cause and possibly sponsor an event in our area once enough support is attained. Posted links.
Martha Rhodes spoke with Kim Nuckles, from the State of West Virginia again and forwarded her a copy of the parking study. Added the information that she gave us about how to file a complaint to the website. Notified others about where the information was.
Martha Rhodes provided a letter in support and pictures of the Apple Butter Festival to Ken Craft, another concerned citizen for presentation to the Town of Bath Council. Ken Craft spoke at Town of Bath Council Meeting to bring this to their attention. The outcome of this was that there was story in the Morgan Messenger. See story. We were not impressed with that story; it appeared as though they were going to address one sidewalk and possibly the handicap situation for the trolley and that's it.
Martha Rhodes as a concerned citizen wrote State of West Virginia legislators encouraging them to enact law that festival organizers need to look for venues that are compliant.
Martha Rhodes as a concerned citizen wrote the State of West Virginia Tourism Department encouraging them to notify festival organizers that their venues should be compliant and hinting that we need a fairgrounds in Morgan County. See letter. Forwarded this letter to West Virginia Governor.
Reviewed all legal filings regarding Town of Bath to see how the businesses being responsible for sidewalks came about and to see if the sidewalks should have been addressed with the ongoing work that is done on the water pipes/roadways. Noted the contractor's involved with those projects and notified Morgan County Improvement Organization as it ties in with their concerns over labor laws.
Began looking for information concerning the events that are held in West Virginia. Specifically looking for largest events by revenue to see if we may be able to get West Virginia focus more money into Morgan County. We have not gotten that list thus far but it appears the Water Tasting Festival may generate more revenue than the Apple Butter Festival. While researching this topic, found that fairs and festivals must make application (see below) to be held. There are other specifications if Beer and/or Wine are to be offered. There are many wine booths at the Apple Butter Festival.
On 11/3/15 Martha Rhodes attended a meeting of the Morgan County Improvement Organization updating group members about the progress being done and answered questions regarding the concerns of the group. As discussed:
The festival is getting larger and a fairgrounds would of course be ideal for all business in Morgan County however the Town of Bath (TOB) would never want to change the way things are being done.
The TOB would need to accept the need for a route around the downtown area so that the streets could be shut down to traffic if they want to improve safety for the festival. This is unlikely because they want the traffic to go through downtown.
The highly unlikely idea that some private landholder would donate property for a fairgrounds. This is unlikely because the developers who own these properties have held on to them this long in the hopes that the real estate market would improve and it appears we may be on the cusp of that since the fed is considering a raise in interest rates.
11/13/2015 Martha Rhodes applied for a volunteer position with the Morgan County EDA
11/17/2015 We started a petition for this cause: Sign Our Petition
While continuing to research these subjects we noted that the water pipes that were installed were done by using imminent domain and by asking property owners to give small portions of their properties for the purpose of installing the water pipes. Can't the same be done for the walkways? We will look into that.
We are unaware as to how many chamber profiles that the Berkeley Springs Chamber belongs to; but we did find what appears to be one of them at wvchamber.com. We will begin contacting them to make them aware of the situation.
Received responses from two legislators stating that they were reviewing the situation that we described in our letter.
Travel Morgan County received 501c3 status. Yeah!
Wrote wvchamber.com to express our concerns.
11/18/2015 Wrote a letter thanking the representative from Alex Mooney's office for his suggestions.
Reviewed notes from Berkeley Springs Town Council meeting provided by a member of the Morgan County Improvement Organization to see if the ADA situation was mentioned which is being handled by the Streetscapes Committee rather than the Public Safety Committee. The notes reported that the Streetscapes Committee revealed that "all the grants that we have applied for will have to be ADA compliant on “anything we touch”
Wrote Mayor Scott Merki concerning the grants at saferoutespartnership.org which may be able to help with improving the walkways.
December - March
Began social media campaign to get more involvement from others in our community. Addressed Morgan County Improvement Organization (MoCoIO). We are going to organize volunteers in the spring to walk the streets and collect addresses for noncompliance. Peace White who is on the Streetscapes committee for the TOB was organizing a Make It Shine community day for cleaning up garbage. We asked if perhaps we could combine efforts with their volunteers and was told perhaps. We would like to see the local Chamber on board with helping to promote this effort but they have responded that it is not their issue. Ken Craft and Clyde Somers posted pictures taken in town before the date for the community day. I forwarded my pics of traffic from Apple Butter over to MoCoIO. We will forward all pics to the ADA on Monday 3/21/,2016. The pics revealed that work had been done on walkways that were part of the Streetscapes project however ADA compliance may not have been done. This would be against the law. We will forward all pics to the ADA on Monday 3/21/,2016.
Clyde Somers posted an event for walking the sidewalks planned for March 26, 2016 on FB. Here is the link for the event:
Here is the link to the photos of both the walkways and the ABF crowds:Sidewalk Resources as well as the ADA complaint form should anyone have a legitimate complaint. We are planning on attending Clyde's event. Hope everyone can make it! See application. What is this a timeline for?