Northampton to improve assisted listening systems

Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Mayor David Narkewicz announced Wednesday that the City of Northampton received two grants to improve accessibility in the city.

According to a news release sent to 22News from the office of Mayor David Narkewicz, one of the grants, $95,710, is from the Massachusetts Office of Disabilities and the second grant of $15,000 is from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards.

The $95,710 grant will fund assisted listening systems at the City Hall Hearing Room, City Council Chambers, and the Great Room at the Senior Center. Assisted listening systems will provide enhanced sound for all, and will accommodate those with hearing loss and impairments.

The news release states, a $2,000 match from the city’s disability revolving fund, funded by fines from parking in handicap-accessible parking spaces without proper tags, helped make this grant possible. 

The $15,000 grant will fund a study of how to improve accessibility to the city’s Connecticut River Greenway, especially to the new beach there that formed just a few years ago. This project will help the city manage the use to serve all populations.

The project is in conjunction with a larger Community Preservation Act funded project to examine five river swimming areas, four on the Mill River and one on the Connecticut River.

“We are committed to improving accessibility to all populations in Northampton,” Mayor Narkewicz said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into tragic focus the unequal health outcomes of our residents with disabilities, our aging residents, and our traditionally underserved residents. We know these folks are all at greater risk of COVID-19, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and other health challenges, so now more than ever we need to address their needs.”

Both projects were recommended during the city’s Americans with Disabilities Transition planning and were recommended by the city’s Disability Committee. These proposed projects will be managed by the Northampton Office of Planning & Sustainability, which hosts the city’s ADA Coordinator and the city’s Community Development program.

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