Medical Facilities Should Be Accessible to All
To the Editor:
Medical access delayed is medical access denied.
July 26 was the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) but very few physicians’ offices and hospitals are wheelchair-accessible as required by this law.
During the long and arduous diagnosis and treatment regimen commonly required for those with breast cancer, I had to endure many incidents of lack of accessibility at a local hospital. For a minor operation, the surgeon had to call a security guard to lift me up onto a high table that I had been assured would be accessible. That experience made a scary situation even scarier. I was anxious, angry and embarrassed at being undressed. For daily radiation treatments, I had to rely on a very cooperative, strong staff member to do the lifting. Many patients, especially older ones, have said that they are afraid that, if they ask for their safe access rights they will lose their doctors.
Medical facilities should be the most proactive in providing access for people with disabilities, including older patients and “wounded warriors.” Still, 21 years after the required implementation of the ADA, patient tables, patient beds, toilets, diagnostic and radiation treatment machines are usually much too high. Toilet seats and exam tables should be 17 to 19 inches from the floor for transfer from a wheelchair. Traditional exam tables are over a foot higher!
While some medical providers have tried by buying newer tables, they are unaware that at 26 inches high, these tables are still dangerous and not accessible. The proper 17 to 19 inch height tables are now available.
Much guidance for medical providers is available at the U.S. Department of Justice’s website: ADA.gov; in particular see “Access To Medical Care For Individuals With Mobility Disabilities” at www.ada.gov/med care_mobility_ta/medcare_ta.pdf
Executive Director, Equalizers
Not Again at Fort Hancock
To the Editor:
For over 10 years I have monitored and criticized the National Park Service’s (NPS) attempt to restore Fort Hancock’s buildings. The NPS’ ill conceived, terribly executed and fatally flawed initial attempt resulted in an award to Sandy Hook Partners (SHP), which had neither the experience nor funding to do the work. This embarrassing and pitiful venture wasted more than 10 years of valuable time, thereby adding to the NPS’ prior 30 years of “demolition by neglect” of the fort’s structures.
The NPS personnel who conducted this horrendous procurement were woefully ill prepared and uninformed. When serious procurement shortcomings and defects were brought to the NPS’ attention at all levels, including the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior, they were completely ignored.
Despite its catastrophic deficiencies, Sandy Hook Partners was awarded a 60-year lease for restoration and operation of all 36 buildings.
However, SHP’s lack of funding killed the restoration of the fort’s buildings. SHP never had the money, which it should have had prior to award, and was never able to secure funding, even after award. In 2009, the NPS was forced to cancel the SHP’s lease.
Recent pronouncements of the “Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee” concerning its Request for Expressions of Interest, cause grave concern. It requested proposals from interested parties “for the reuse of one building or all 36.” This is exactly the same approach that the NPS used in its prior failed Fort Hancock out-lease. I do not believe that the committee or the NPS has the expertise to conduct this new procurement, especially to formulate a method of evaluation for the diverse spectrum of proposals that could result from the “one, some, or all 36” buildings offers approach.
Given what Hurricane Sandy did to Fort Hancock last year, adding its destruction to the NPS’ preceding 40 years of “demolition by neglect,” and the lack of federal money to restore these buildings, it is time to focus on the fort’s most valuable asset, its land.
The U.S. taxpayers need more open space located in the heart of the “Eastern Megalopolis” for recreation. They don’t need the use of restored buildings that only a few will be able to afford. All of Sandy Hook must remain the “People’s Park,” including Fort Hancock.
It is time to say goodbye to the buildings of Fort Hancock, and embrace a less costly solution, a Fort Hancock recreation area.
Peter P. O’Such Jr.
Formerly of Fair Haven
Applicants Sought for Business Façade Improvement Program
To the Editor:
It gives me great pleasure to announce the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently passed a resolution approving the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program. As liaison to the Department of Economic Development and the originator of the Grow Monmouth initiative already in place, I am very proud to have been an instrumental part of the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program. This is yet another example of the county’s commitment to our business world and to the continued promotion of economic growth within our county.
The program, the newest initiative under our Grow Monmouth program, uses HUD (U.S. Housing and Urban Development) Community Development Block Grant funds that were de-obligated by grantees to help privately held commercial buildings that are located in eligible areas improve the look of their businesses. No county funds are used for the program.
Staff from Economic Development and Division of Planning will administer the program. There are no matching funds required from the business or the county. A total of $75,000 has been set aside for this program.
HUD eligible areas include all or part of 26 of the county’s municipalities. Eligible areas within each of these municipalities can be located on the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement website (www.visitmonmouth.com). Towns that receive their own HUD funding directly are not eligible to participate in this program (examples: Asbury, Long Branch and Middletown).
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has established the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program to provide businesses with funds to assist with the improvement of business façade and the replacement of deteriorated or poor quality commercial signs and awnings.
Grants for façade improvements are intended to fund 100 percent of the project cost up to a maximum of $1,850. Total project costs cannot exceed this amount and cannot be part of a larger building façade improvement project.
The program is managed through the efforts of the Grow Monmouth Committee, a committee designated specifically for this program, comprised of staff from the Monmouth County Department of Economic Development, the Monmouth County Division of Planning (Office of Community Development). The Grow Monmouth Committee will convene to evaluate applications to determine eligibility and make grant awards to those proposed projects that are determined to meet the program criteria by remedying substandard commercial building façade, storefronts and improve the overall streetscape in a community. Grant awards will be made on a first come, first serve basis.
The façade improvement program is funded through the Monmouth County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the Monmouth County Department of Economic Development at 732-431-7470 to discuss their projects prior to submitting an application.
Thomas A. Arnone
Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Two River Moment
Even around the 1900s advertising was a hot commodity. Here, a sail on the Navesink River is used as a floating billboard.