STOW -- The city may soon no longer have a Commission on Disabilities, but this does not mean that there will no longer be a body devoted to those with special needs.

The commission voted 6-0, with one absence, on March 28 to change its name to the Commission on Inclusion. Commission member Rose Schur was absent.

Mayor Sara Kline told the Stow Sentry March 28 that she will send legislation to Council April 13 to officially change the name through an amendment of the ordinance Council approved to form the commission in 2012.

"I would certainly anticipate and expect that Council would support that because it goes along with the mission of the commission," she said.

The name change was the idea of Commission Secretary Teresa McDonnell. Commission members say the word "inclusion" is more descriptive of what the commission is trying to do.

"We'd rather be positive about the inclusion part," Commission Vice Chairperson Louise Burkett told the Stow Sentry after the March 28 meeting.

"Just to be gentler and more to the point," added Commission member Dawn Doolittle.

The commission was an early initiative of Kline's administration. Among its achievements have been arranging handicapped parking and a viewing area during the city's annual Fourth of July parade. It is currently advocating making Stow parks and recreation programs more inclusive.

Also during the April 13 Council meeting, Commission members said they plan on making a presentation in an attempt at getting Council members and city officials to consider the needs of all residents when making decisions, such as approving building plans.

Kline said she supports the name change.

"I think it's a great idea," said Kline. "I think it more accurately reflects the goal of the commission."

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