Brownstown garners praise for ADA compliance efforts


Once the snow clears, an area firm will begin work to help the county seat become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Engineers from Loogootee-based Midwestern Engineers Inc. soon will be spotted around Brownstown performing an inventory of every sidewalk in town, determining if they are handicap-accessible.

“We will also try to estimate as best we can without actually bidding out work what current prices would be for the work as you try to prioritize what you’re doing,” Julie Berry, client administrator with Midwestern Engineers, said to Brownstown Town Council members during a recent meeting.

Berry will be joined by co-workers Terry Hardwick and Stephen Goins and Chief Executive Officer Richard Burch on the project.

Town councilman Ben Lewis is the ADA coordinator, and he is on a committee with Cliff Sommers, Jennifer Isaacs, Lisa Davis and council President John Nolting. Lewis said the committee includes people with disabilities.

“That really does show good-faith effort to try to get a handicap person’s point of view,” Berry said.

The committee was formed in the fall. During its meetings, Lewis said members have worked on making a detailed list of town properties, sidewalks and thoroughfares.

After studying the federal ADA law, Lewis said they realized a company needed to be hired to develop a 20-year plan to help the town become compliant.

Berry praised the committee’s work so far, which also includes establishing a grievance procedure and a resolution in case any complaints are reported to town officials.

Berry said Midwestern Engineers has performed similar work in Hanover, Huntingburg, Palmyra, Oakland City and other towns.

“You’re taking a step further than some Indiana communities, which is a good thing,” she said.

“You’ve done what you can do on your own. I can see that you’ve done a darn good job, a very thorough job, and I think things are in place.”

The town will be providing the company with a list of municipal and utility buildings and any other property owned and/or operated by the town, along with a detailed map or legal description showing the current town municipal limit.

Once the company is done with its work, Berry said the town will be given a binder and an electronic version of the detailed sidewalk and intersection inventory.

Berry said she hopes their work can begin within the next few weeks and be completed in four months.

In developing its long-range plan, the town is going to try to budget around $2,500 a year toward making buildings, sidewalks and intersections ADA compliant. Town officials also hope to receive financial assistance from the federal government if it’s available.

Lewis said the committee’s next meeting will be around the first of April.