Inaccessible Quarters Lead Council To Take Show On Road

July 14, 1991|By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. | Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — They have no promoter.

They have no beer company lined up as a sponsor.

There's not even a concession stand selling T-shirts listing the locations and dates of performances.

But members of the City Council are embarking on Summer Tour '91.

Taking its regular biweekly meetings on the road, the council has "played" three venues so far this summer. A fourth likely will be added in August.

The roving council sessions have made for a refreshing change of pace from routine meetings at City Hall, members say.But the reason behind the roaming is very serious.

The council has shunned its chambers at City Hall because it's not handicapped accessible.

The building has no elevator and the only way to reach the chambers is via a narrow stairway.

That's morally untenable to some council members.

Before long, it will be illegal, too.

When the Americans with Disabilities Act takes full effect in January 1993, the city government will be required to make all its facilities accessible to disabled citizens.

"Wewon't be able to be breaking laws where we're making laws," Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein said.

Lack of accessibility isn't the only drawback to the chambers.

Anyone who has taken in a meeting there knows the quarters are tight and the acoustics terrible.

It's also difficult to see all the activity from the audience seating.

The council is looking into relocating the chambers on City Hall's first floor, currently occupied by office space. But it will be some time before a decision is made, said Orenstein, chairwoman of council's public improvements committee.

The group met once in the chambers in late May, shortly after election put three new faces on the council, and decided a new meeting place should be sought.

The June meetings were moved to theMain Street branch of the Carroll County Library. Last Monday's meeting took place at the Westminster Senior Center on Schoolhouse Avenue.

The council tour will take a break. The next meeting -- originally scheduled for Monday, July 22 -- was canceledbecause the mayor and most of the council will be road-tripping to the three-day Maryland Municipal League conference in Ocean City.

The location for the Aug. 12 meeting remains up in the air, said Orenstein, who is charged with arranging locations for meetings.

"There's a certain adventure to it," she said.

Check your local listingsfor the performance nearest you.

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