General Information & Contact Us

About Us / History

In the early 1980's a group of concerned citizens met to discuss disability issues in our community. In 1983, the state legislature passed a resolution, codified in Section 8J of Chapter 40 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth, which provided for cities and towns to establish commissions on disability. It spelled out the required duties and composition of these boards. These boards are to be advisory in nature, and may make recommendations to the city, but have no regulatory power.

In 1984, the Methuen town council unanimously adopted these provisions to create a Commission on Disabilities. The state legislature subsequently enacted section 22G of Chapter 40, which provided for the creation of separate municipal accounts for the proceeds of handicapped parking fines to be used for the benefit of people with disabilities. In 1995, the Methuen Commission on Disabilities initiated legislation to do this for our city, and it was so enacted.

We filed legislation with the city, which passed in 2006, to establish the position of Access Coordinator, a position under the Mayor's office. This position is a liaison for the Commission on Disabilities and oversees and works with city departments addressing access to current and new city properties.


  • Two members of the commission started a show on disability issues, 'Yes We Can', on Methuen Cable TV (MCTV) in January 2017. It won a regional cable TV award for advocacy coverage in 2018.
  • The Commission now has a representative on the statewide coalition of disability commissions, an organization that advocates for statewide disability issues. (2017)
  • The Commission has granted funds to the Senior Activity Center to make their doors handicap accessible. (2018)
  • Hosted a program, at the Nevins Library, on Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities, presented by the Shriver Center at UMASS Medical.(2016). The program was taped and broadcast by MCTV and can be viewed in their archive of Emergency Preparedness For Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Used MCOD funds to enable the Nevins Library to purchase materials to help visually impaired patrons use the library resources more effectively (2015).
  • Prepared the City Handicapped Parking Brochure, which is discussed elsewhere on this website. Made it available also at the mayor's office, the senior center, and medical centers in the city (2013)
  • Hosted regional Massachusetts Office on Disability conference (2002, 2009).
  • Filed and obtained passage of a new city ordinance, the first of its kind in Massachusetts, which mandates that all new public construction in the City of Methuen will require, at minimum, a push button door opener in the building's main accessible entrance (2009).
  • Used MCOD funds to install push button door openers at all K-8 schools in the city, at the Nevins Memorial Library, and at the School Administration Building at Ditson Place (2007-2009).
  • Used MCOD funds to help develop, along with Jeanne Molloy, a former member of MCOD, a handicap awareness program that was presented at the Methuen elementary schools (2008).
  • Made a donation to the Best Buddies Summer Program and worked with the Greater Lawrence ARC to hold a Family Fun Day (2006).
  • Applied for and received a state grant for access improvements at Forest Lake. Worked with city officials during planning and building processes (2002).
  • Used MCOD funds for accessible playground areas at the Veteran's Field and Gill Avenue (1998-2000).
  • Applied for and received a state grant for handicap parking and access to the Methuen High School ice rink. Worked with city officials during planning and building processes (1997).
  • Assisted with Methuen's first self-evaluation and transition plan required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This plan included required accessibility improvements in public buildings and access to all city agencies (1994).
  • Assisted the city in making accessibility improvements at the Quinn Public Safety building (1990).

Notices and Meetings

The Methuen Commission on Disabilities is now meeting via zoom due to the pandemic, and will continue to do so until the commission votes to resume in-person meetings. The scheduled meetings are posted at city hall, on the city website calendar, in Methuen Life's calendar, and on the Methuen Community Television notices (MCTV Verizon Channel 33, Comcast Channel 22.).

Contact Us - General Concerns

If you have an issue that involves public, non-private, issues regarding disabilities in the city, please use the email addresses below to advise us of your concern. If you have a suggestion of more information you would like to see on our website, please describe it and provide any links to other websites.

For all questions on public accessibility issues, email the City of Methuen Disabilities Coordinator Gene Walsh. Please put Commission on Disabilities Website in the subject line and include your contact phone number.