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Posted on: April 26, 2023

City of Clarksville commits to improving public accessibility with capital projects fund

Mayor Joe Pitts, along with a group of nine city employees and guests, pose for a photo.

CLARKSVILLE, TN - A $500,000 Capital Project for Accessibility Enhancements in the City, approved by City Council members in February, has gained its first two projects.

As part of this Capital Project, two service windows, one located on the first floor of City Hall and the second in City Court, will be lowered to improve access for citizens using wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

Funds from the Accessibility Enhancements Capital Project will be allocated as needed to support advancing the City’s mission of becoming more accessible.

‘Spend A Day in My Wheels Challenge’ inspires change

The project was initially proposed by City Grants Director Lauren Winters, who got the idea while participating in Alex Johnson’s Spend a Day In My Wheels Challenge last fall.

City of Clarksville takes on AleX’s Challenge: “Spend a Day in My Wheels”

“One of the places I visited during the challenge was the revenue office located on the first floor of City Hall. As I wheeled up to the countertop-height windows, I immediately thought of a comment that Alex had made about the importance of being able to talk eye-to-eye with people,” Winters said. 

“When I mentioned the countertop height inhibiting these eye-to-eye interactions to our CFO and the Mayor, I was met with an emphatic ‘yes, let's fix that!’,” said Winters. 

The event was organized by City officials in cooperation with The Permobil Foundation and local disability advocate Stephanie Watson.

“I cannot thank our city Mayor and his wonderful staff for participating in the Spend a Day In My Wheels Challenge and are now working towards making our city more accessible,” Watson said. “When a person with a disability asks for things to be made more accessible, they’re simply asking to be included. 

“Accessibility is simply making information, activities, and/or environments sensible, meaningful, and usable for as many people as possible. Watson said. “I’m so proud of our City and I’m hopeful for the future.”

Alex Johnson told city officials he was pleased to hear about the positive change his visit to Clarksville brought.

“I am so glad to hear that the entire point of the challenge has been heard and taken to heart. It fills me with joy to know the true impact that this has had on the wheelchair community,” said Johnson.

Just the beginning

Winters went on to say that the initiative to lower service counters is not the only accessibility project in the works at the City of Clarksville. 

“This project sparked a bigger idea. What if we had a multi-year capital project that could help us make several accessibility enhancements? This newly-created capital project is just the beginning of the improvements to come. I'm thankful for the firsthand experience I was given through this challenge and I hope to use it to make a positive impact in my hometown.” 

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