It was wonderful to have the opportunity to share with you our experiences with employees of the Public Works Department in relationship to the City of Las Cruces' commitment to be in compliance with ADA standards.
As a member of the ADA Advisory Committee I had planned to inquire into the reasons why sidewalk work had been done on South Telshor near the Hospital, Good Samaritan Village, etc. Based on observation it seemed the money should be going to other inaccessible places because, from an untrained perspective, it appeared wheelchair access was in place. However, my doubts were erased and questions answered in a profound way as the implementation of the project moved north on Telshor, impacting our neighborhood.
We first became aware when a man came to the door to explain city employees would be in our yard doing survey work because the City would be doing sidewalk work to bring the sidewalk in compliance with ADA guidelines. He provided us with Thelma Jaramillo's business card and explained she could provide us additional information. The east side of Telshor presents significant challenges due to the steep driveways and specific ADA requirements resulting in numerous questions about the process, short term and long term access to our home. Thelma was immediately accessible and provided comprehensive, understandable information regarding the project.
I attended a public meeting where members of the team explained what was happening, why it was necessary, and provided graphics to improve our understanding. They created an atmosphere that felt more like a dialog rather than a "meeting". Due to a conflict, Gene was unable to attend the meeting but a call to Thelma resulted in his receiving the images via email. One neighbor was unable to attend the meeting due to his health and Thelma agreed someone would do a presentation in his home.
We were informed additional work would need to be done before a final draft would be developed and a contract awarded. We were assured we would receive additional information before the plan was finalized and trust this will occur. As the work progresses additional survey work has to be done. Because our driveway presents some very unique challenges, Oscar Guerrero, Engineering Technician, an Koting Lee, PE, Civil Engineering Sr. have been to our home on more than one occasion to gather information and problem solve what it will take to be in compliance with ADA standards while ensuring we have access to our home with minimal disruption to our landscape and remaining within budget restraints. Among other things, this included measuring the base of our car, driving a city vehicle down the driveway into the street etc. They did not do this in complete isolation, but obtained information from Gene and included him in the conversations.
Gene and I can't find words to adequately describe the professionalism of the city employees with whom we have worked. Their focus on quality, fiscal responsibility and customer service exceeds expectations. We have been impressed by the entire team working on this project, but want to specifically recognize Thelma Jaramillo, Oscar Guerrero and Koting Lee.