Indianapolis was selected as winner of the 2009 Accessible America Awards, making the city one of the best places in the U.S. for people with disabilities to live, learn, work and play.
The award is given each year by the National Organization on Disabilities (NOD), which chooses cities based on their commitment to accessibility and the inclusion of people with disabilities. Other finalists for the award were Alexandria, Va., Denver, Louisville, Ky., New Haven, Conn., Sioux Falls, S.D., and Surprise, Ariz.
NOD commended Indianapolis for the creation of the Indianapolis Business Leadership Network, a group of business leaders who promote awareness about employing people with disabilities. It also applauded the accessibility features along the Cultural Trail and other disability-related efforts from the mayor’s office.
Accessible America is a competition open to all cities and towns across the nation. Its purpose is to recognize and promote replication of exemplary practices that communities use to facilitate the comprehensive involvement of citizens with disabilities in community life, including employment, education, voting, transportation and housing. The winning city receives a $25,000 prize and is considered a national model for inclusion. The 2009 competition was sponsored by AARP.
Last year’s winner was Houston. Previous winners include: Berkeley, Calif., Cambridge, Mass., Irvine, Calif., Pasadena, Calif., Phoenix, and Venice, Fla.
“The country’s youth with disabilities and veterans with disabilities bring with them an especially strong desire to contribute to the economic, social and cultural vitality of their communities. Their opportunities open the doors to greater participation by all,” said NOD President Carol Glazer.