Boston, MA: by  Kristen McCosh, the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities, provides a weekly update on the work happening in her office.

Last month, Mayor Walsh joined us on City Hall Plaza to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the passage of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). This year was Boston’s seventh annual celebration of this landmark legislation.

Approximately 300 children, families, advocates, and individuals of all abilities attended our event. It was great to have both the City Health and Human Services Chief Marty Martinez along with the Mayor join us. Their presence demonstrates Mayor Walsh’s commitment to One Boston, which emphasizes accessibility and inclusion.

ADA Day provides a good opportunity to reflect on the progress that the City of Boston has made to provide full and equal access for people with disabilities in everything the City has to offer, along with the work that remains to be done.

Mayor Walsh has made a commitment to ensuring that our municipal buildings are accessible. In Honor of City Hall’s 50th anniversary this year, he has announced a $60 million comprehensive renovation plan with accessibility improvement a top priority. The plan includes infrastructure improvements to City Hall and the North side of City Hall Plaza, including opening the North entrance to City Hall, which has been closed to the public for 17 years. These improvements will reopen this vital access point to the public, transactional places in City Hall, as well as improve overall accessibility to City Hall Plaza.

Inside City Hall, the bathrooms on the 5th floor were renovated to be fully ADA compliant – the first ones ever in City Hall. Also, the City Council Chamber is now fully ADA compliant. People with disabilities can now testify from the same location as the general public. We know there is a lot more that needs to be done to improve access – but rest assured that we are working on it every day!