Vineyard Independence Partnership presents award to Tisbury DPW

— Photo by Ralph Stewart

Tisbury department of public works (DPW) director Fred LaPiana received an Access Appreciation Award yesterday afternoon from the Vineyard Independence Partnership (VIP) in gratitude for the improvements his department has made to the town’s sidewalks. VIP co-presidents Steve Soriano and Allison Burger presented a framed certificate to Mr. LaPiana in a ceremony in front of the Vineyard Community Supports house at 55 Church Street.

“Thank you for making our sidewalks more user friendly, so people like myself or anybody can walk on them in a safe way,” Mr. Soriano, who uses a wheelchair, told Mr. LaPiana.

Mr. LaPiana thanked Val Pires of P & P Masonry, who attended the ceremony, for doing the work on the sidewalks. He also gave recognition to Andy Krickl, who was not there, for his help and advice as a former Dukes County American with Disabilities Act (ADA) representative throughout the sidewalk project.

“Thank you for your support, continued advocacy, and encouragement for us to make the sidewalks safer for everybody, because they benefit us all,” Mr. LaPiana told the VIP group.

Wendy Lopez-Mata, Area Director for Seven Hills Community Services, which operates a community-based day program at the house, reminded everyone to keep the new sidewalks clear this winter.

The DPW began a five-year program in 2010 that involves rebuilding and resurfacing about 20 town roads and about 14 sidewalks, as well as replacing Tisbury School’s traffic warning lights and the Park and Ride lighting fixtures, drainage structures, and signs. The $1.5 million program was funded through a bond proposal approved by voters at town meeting in April 2009.

VIP was founded in 1983 as the Martha’s Vineyard Special Parents Association and changed its name in 2007. VIP is a volunteer-operated nonprofit organization that works as a partnership of individuals with disabilities, their family members and friends.