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Keller @ Large: Beacon Hill Residents Fight Against Upgrading Handicap Ramps

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420x316-grad-keller2 Jon Keller
Veteran Boston political commentator Jon Keller is heard every weekday...
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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a clash of history and safety on Beacon Hill.

Residents of the Boston neighborhood are fighting Mayor Walsh’s plan to upgrade handicap ramps on sidewalks there.

On the front page of the neighborhood paper, there’s headline outrage over what they’re calling the mayor’s “first big mistake.”

“He’s decided that it’s going to be my way or the highway,” said a resident.

However, Mayor Walsh said, “Every time we meet we come up with some ideas and then there’s always a compromise they’re looking for.”

“We’ve come to the point where we’re done here. We’re going to move forward,” he told WBZ-TV.

What’s got the mayor at odds with one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods?

Federal law requires sidewalk ramps to be upgraded to accommodate people with handicaps.

However, the mayor’s critics want to better preserve Beacon Hill’s special look.

One resident stated, “I think the residents just want thoughtful consideration so that what’s done ties in with the beautiful historic character that we have around Beacon Hill that we love so much.”

Another resident said, “Mr. Mayor, you’re new at your job. Take time and hit the ground listening.”

But State Rep. Jay Livingstone says consideration and listening have been missing.

“What’s really sad to me is the city’s actions of just saying no to any alternatives for years and not engaging,” said Livingstone.

The mayor notes that every other city neighborhood already has the new ramps, and made it clear today his patience is at an end.

“They need to just look in the mirror a little bit and say we need to rethink this one,” said Mayor Walsh.

But local activists say they may take the city to court over this.

MORE LOCAL NEWS FROM CBS BOSTON

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