SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah Mayor Van Johnson says he’s adding another seat at the city’s table, announcing the creation of a new task force dedicated to making Savannah more inclusive for residents with different abilities.
Called Savannability, the task force is made up of members living with accessibility issues, those in transportation, older adult services and more.
One of the biggest and most complicated tasks will be making some of Savannah’s iconic streets and public rights of way that are decades or even hundreds of years old, more accessible.
“You have never learned about Savannah until you’ve gone around in a wheelchair in Savannah,” Mayor Johnson said.
Mayor Johnson says the city had an Americans with Disabilities Act plan a few years ago that still needs to be completed, in part working to create more graded access points on rights of way and curb cuts for people in wheelchairs.
“I think we can prioritize those. There are some that are more clearly dangerous than others,” Mayor Johnson said.
More immediate, easier to accomplish tasks ahead of the group were detailed by the task force leader, Patti Lyons with Senior Citizens, Inc.
“We’re going to make sure that we’re all in agreement on what makes a site highly accessible versus moderately accessible and updating those. Those will be the easier things to start with, and then we can put those back onto the city’s website as well as the county’s website and at the visitor’s center so we can disseminate that information. That’ll be probably the easiest,” Lyons said.
The Savannability task force members are Patti Lyons, chair, Neil Ligon, Angel Denardi, Patty Victor, Lois Modell, Anika Futch, Dr. Mark Johnson, Florence Bry, Brigitte Morrison, Ben Lewis, James Aberson, Brendan Ferrara, Paul Rockwell, April Lundy-Watkins, Valerie Ragland, Beth McIntosh, Richard Spivey, Sean Brandon, Dr. Dana Taylor, Martin Fretty, Melanie Wilson and Alicia Johnson.
The group will work in subcommittees to study and suggest solutions for specific issues like transportation and mobility, housing and employment.