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Accessibility violations at Armory

Posted by Marcia Dick  June 1, 2010 09:42 AM

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The state Architectural Access Board has found 18 code violations for accessibility to people with disabilities at the Somerville’s Arts at the Armory center, said Terrel Harris, spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

The problems include signage, electronics and entry. The armory has been "using paper signs and that’s not allowed under the law," Harris said. The intercom system and assisted listening devices don’t meet requirements. Neither does a hand rail.

The building’s front entry is also out of compliance; a Somerville disability activist had filed a complaint about the slope of the ramp.

"We have had people use the facility in wheelchairs," said Debra McLaughlin, part of the armory’s programming team. "To my knowledge no one has been denied access to the armory due to their disability."

Armory co-owner Joseph Sater called the problems "minor" and said that many had already been fixed. "On the door, you had this paper signage - they wanted us to paste numbers ... we’ve done that already. He’s also fixed non-compliant bathroom signage."

They’re still figuring out how to fix the ramp’s pitch. He said members of the access board were going to visit the armory "and check out the establishment themselves."How much has it cost? "You don’t count money," Sater said. With several nonprofit groups in the building, "you have to be totally in compliance" so they can get grants.

Activists are urging the Somerville Arts Council to move a June 5 fund-raiser to a fully accessible location.

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