City Judged 'Most Accessible' for Disabled Americans

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - Pasadena, Calif., has been judged the most accessible city for people with disabilities, and it will receive $25,000 for its efforts.

Pasadena won the National Organization on Disability's "Accessible America" contest because of its "successful" programs, services and facilities for the disabled.

"Pasadena's welcoming attitude deeply impressed the judges," the National Organization on Disability said.

Among other things, the city has established a Mayor's Committee for Employment of Persons with Disabilities; and an Accessibility and Disability Commission, which makes sure the city provides equal access to the disabled in its programs, events, and buildings.

"As a pedestrian-friendly destination city, Pasadena is dedicated to accommodating the many persons with disabilities who live, work and play in the community," said Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard.

"Meeting their special needs is a goal of all of our capital projects and our ongoing operations, and I am delighted that these efforts are recognized as valuable and effective."

This year's contest finalists were: Friendship Heights, Md.; Highland Park, N.J.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Miami Beach, Fla.; and West Hollywood, Calif. Past winners include Phoenix, Ariz.; Irvine, Calif.; and Venice, Fla.

"I hope other communities will be inspired by they strive to become more livable for all, including those of us with disabilities," said N.O.D. President Alan A. Reich.

The National Organization on Disability was organized to expand the participation and contribution of the 54 million disabled Americans in all aspects of life. "By raising disability awareness through programs and information, together we can work toward closing the participation gaps," the group says on its website.

The N.O.D. has been a strong advocate for Terri Schindler Schiavo, the brain damaged woman at the center of a life-and-death battle between her parents, who want her to live; and her husband, who wants her to die.

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