Harwich to Address American With Disabilities Act Violations

HARWICH – Harwich officials will be addressing several violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act across town-managed properties.

More than 270 such violations were recently brought to light as part of an annual report presented to selectmen by the town’s Accessibility Rights Committee following a required self-assessment.

Concerns include safety and public access issues at town sidewalks, crosswalks, and across municipal facilities and would likely cost several hundred thousand dollars and take years to bring the town into full compliance.

Committee Chairman Matt Hart told selectmen recently that Harwich has a high percentage of disabled residents.

“In 2014, looking at the non-institutionalized Harwich population, 12 percent were individuals who claimed some type of disability,” said Hart.

The percentage of disabled residents is higher in Harwich than in many similar sized communities, and growing, having climbed over the last decade to a present rate of 12 percent.

“Arrangements are being made to correct and update these violations,” said Hart.

“There is an estimated cost of around $200,000 in financial obligation in regard to follow up during the next three years,” he said.

Harwich officials are now looking into grants which might help to defray the cost of improvements, and are working to develop a plan for the work.

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