[Source: “Help make courthouse more accessible,” Press Citizen, 19 April 2013, by George R. Dane]
It is very difficult for those of us who are disabled or have a mobility problem to access our 1901-built county courthouse. It has many barriers for us, and it is not possible to remove or modify them.
The front entrance with its steps is inaccessible to us. We have to use a narrow entrance around back. The hallways are narrow and the bathrooms are small. There is little room for a walker or wheelchair.
The small elevator is our only access to courtrooms with a jury box or a witness stand. Once in the courtroom, there are steps into the jury box or witness stand and these steps in turn are small. If we are asked to give of our time to serve on a jury, or if we need legal services in the courthouse, we should experience a minimum of inconvenience or discomfort. I have found Iowans to be very understanding, helpful and kind; but at the same time, I feel I am imposing on their goodness.
The new justice center will be built to comply with current ADA standards and specifications. Those of us who are disabled or have mobility problems will have accessibility equal to everyone else.
That is why I plan to vote “yes” on May 7.
George R. Dane