Resident's idea inspires Borough accessibility project

On May 4, the borough installed the first of dozens of single post handrails to address mobility issues and increase accessibility to businesses.

The Borough of Collingswood has taken on a new initiative to benefit residents and visitors of the business district. Resident Amy Welsh contacted Collingswood mayor Jim Maley regarding the difficulties her family face when shopping the downtown in Collingswood and beyond. Welsh is the mother of a child dependent on a wheelchair for mobility as well as a sister to a disabled adult reliant on a cane.

Due to limited abilities, maneuvering steps and step-ups into stores and restaurants can present a fall risk for those who require stabilization to navigate them. Welsh’s proposed solution: handrails to provide stability. This small improvement can open literal and figurative doors for many people in the community.

“Sloped curbs in the business district and ramps to government buildings has been helpful but our interaction with our community is still limited significantly. Even one or two steps without a handrail are hazardous to someone with a disability who can ambulate,” said Welsh. Her suggestion for single post railings is now coming to fruition as the first handrails are installed beginning May 4.

Local Collingswood metal manufacturer, Stout’s, is scheduled to perform the first installation at Grooveground, located at 647 Haddon Ave, on Tuesday, May 4, at 9am. Amy Welsh will be on hand to see the results of her initiative.

“This is a terrific addition to the downtown,” says Collingswood Mayor Jim Maley. “Residents like Amy are what keep the Borough constantly evolving and improving. We encourage anyone with ideas they think are beneficial for the community to speak up, we are listening.”

Following Amy’s letter to the mayor, the Borough immediately began outreach with businesses. The response was encouraging and property owners are eager to see the positive impact the addition of handrails has on their shoppers and employees.