Kevin Sweet, Town Administrator
195 Main St.
Maynard, MA 01754
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Maynard Student Helps Convert All Municipal Parking Spaces to Empowering, Improved “Accessible Icon Project”
MAYNARD — Town Administrator Kevin Sweet is pleased to announce all 15 municipal handicapped parking spaces in town have been converted to a new, unique logo called “The Accessible Icon Project.”
Recently graduated Maynard High School senior Kayla O’Mahony helped bring the Accessible Icon Project to Maynard. She learned about the project and then presented her idea to the Maynard Board of Selectmen at their May 7 meeting.
“I want to help shift society’s perspectives on people with disabilities, and I figured an old, outdated icon that people look at every day was a good place to start,” Kayla said. “The Accessible Icon Project portrays people with disabilities in an active, empowered way, and I’m glad to see it in my hometown!”
The original International Symbol of Access (the official name for the old blue icon portraying a person in a wheelchair) got its makeover in 2009 by artist Sara Hendren, a mother of three including a son with Down syndrome; and Brian Glenney, Ph.D, an assistant professor of Philosophy at Gordon College. The new icon focuses more on the person, not the chair, showing movement and action. It is ADA compliant as it still displays a wheelchair, and it also represents accessibility.
Town Administrator, Kevin Sweet recalls how quickly the town was to get started with this project. “Once we heard Kayla’s proposal, we wanted to help her with her project while also making our town more aware and educated about this important topic. This icon on our municipal parking spaces is a start,” he said. Interested towns and businesses can get involved by requesting stencils or stickers for sign replacements through the Accessible Icon Project.
Kayla, 18, humbly acknowledged that she had a lot of help in accomplishing her goal of getting the Accessible Icon Project in town. She thanks Jean LaBelle, her Senior Project Adviser at Maynard High School, who helped set Kayla up with the right contacts and constantly provided moral support. Also, Alan Rogers, owner of Tint-a-Glass in Maynard, for printing the icon on a large piece of paper and Wally Manion, owner of WJM Carpentry in town for cutting out the stencils once Kayla traced them onto plywood.
Kayla is just beginning her freshman year at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Penn.
The Accessible Icon Project is based in Malden, and the concept has grown to include partners like New York State, hospitals around the world including University College of Medical Sciences in Delhi, India and Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts.
Four cities in Massachusetts have embraced the project, but it is believed that Maynard is the first town in Massachusetts to adopt the Accessible Icon Project in municipal parking spaces.
The town immediately accepted Kayla’s proposal and town officials were inspired by both her intuition and the positive goals of the Project.
“Once we heard Kayla’s proposal, we knew we wanted to get involved with The Accessible Icon Project,” Town Administrator Sweet said. “Municipal parking spaces are a great place to start, but we also hope to make the rest of our town and our vibrant business community aware of the project.”
You can learn more about the Accessible Icon Project or request signs, stencils, and stickers at accessibleicon.org.