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Louisville Recognized for Livability For Visually Impaired Residents

Thursday May 1, 2003

Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced that Louisville has been named by a leading national organization as one of the five best places to live for people who are blind or visually impaired.

The “AFB Livable Community Award” from the American Foundation for the Blind recognizes cities and towns in the United States that have developed ways to encourage the involvement of blind or visually impaired people in community activities.

“Louisville is becoming an increasingly diverse place,” Abramson said in announcing the award Thursday. “And our goal is to make Louisville a place that is welcoming to everyone. We’re honored to receive this award that recognizes the work we’re doing to make our community a place where everyone feels at home.”
 
Louisville was honored with the Livable Community Award for its affordable housing, accessible arts programs and a strong presence in the community of blind people through the American Printing House for the Blind.
 
Louisville tied for fifth place for its efforts to increase accessibility for its blind or visually impaired residents. Charlotte, N.C. was ranked first, followed by Berkeley, Calif.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; and New York City. Louisville tied with LaCrosse, Wis.

In recognizing Louisville, AFB specifically cited:
· Louisville’s transportation accessibility, including sidewalks in many parts of the city and a bus system with stops announced and available scheduling;
· A strong blind presence in the city through the American Printing House for the Blind;
· Safe affordable housing and access to restaurants, groceries and retail stores;
· An affordable cost of living;
· Education, arts and recreation amenities; and
· Active advocacy councils and a responsive city government.

"Louisville is home to several dynamic blindness organizations and a responsive city government, helping to create an environment that encourages visually impaired people to actively participate in community life," said AFB President & CEO Carl R. Augusto.

AFB launched the Livable Communities Project to document environmental features that create or limit access for blind or visually impaired people.

AFB members conducted focus groups, informal interviews and an online survey, among other things, to form criteria for the award. Criteria and nominations also came from more than 200 blind or visually impaired participants in a national research project.

An estimated 10 million Americans are blind or severely visually impaired. That number is expected to grow as baby boomers age, making it more critical for communities to have programs in place that enable visually impaired people to lead independent lives.
 
The American Foundation for the Blind is a national non-profit organization based in New York. Its mission is to eliminate the inequities faced by those who are blind or visually impaired. For additional information regarding the Livable Communities Project, visit: www.afb.org/livability.asp. 

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