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I had recently made a trip out to the county road and bridge shop located on U.S. 84, as I needed a permit to work in the county right of way. I had arrived at a little past seven in the morning.
I have been confined to an electric wheelchair for the past 25 years due to a spinal cord injury. I get around pretty well, but upon arrival at the building, I noticed county vehicles parked all around the front door and in the handicapped parking.
Once inside the lobby, I encountered stairs. There was no way for me to get to the road and bridge department, as it is upstairs. There was much laughing, talking and other noise coming from upstairs, almost as if a party was going on. No one could hear me yell over the noise.
I grew frustrated and angry and decided to leave after 30 minutes of trying to get someone’s attention. I went home and called the county road and bridge department to only get a voice mail. I left several messages over several days and have never received a call back. I had made a trip to the county courthouse to voice my concern to a commissioner, only to encounter the same problem — county vehicles parked in handicap parking and then, when I went inside the downstairs entrance and tried to use the elevator, an employee told me not to do that as the elevator never works and I would get stuck. I asked the person how am I supposed to talk to someone and they just shrugged their shoulders and said that it is bad around here.
I feel that as a long time county taxpayer, I should be able to access any county government building. I also feel that the county has employed these people to serve the citizens of this county, including those that are physically disabled. I have been told by several people that the county is not responsive to the citizens and that the road and bridge is the worst offender and has the reputation for being unprofessional and ignoring citizens.
Who is watching the ship at road and bridge? Why does the county spend money building a park and building a recycle center, but not making its buildings handicap accessible? I encourage everyone, especially the commissioners and county manager, to pay a visit to road and bridge and they will understand why the roads are in such poor condition.
These people work for us, even those of us that are disabled. I deserve to be able to go into a government building just like anybody else. Please fix these problems.