Friday, February 16, 2018

Handicap Access at Fort Amanda

I'm going to "stray" from my typical postings this day to address something that has bothered me for some time. It all began last Fall.

There was a large turnout last fall for Johnny Appleseed's Lantern Walk. Folks had come out to hear presentations and enjoy the lantern walk back to the monument where reenactors had set up their camp.  As we were walking back to the monument, something hit me like a ton of bricks; the people with physical handicaps, and some of the older folks probably can't with us because of the steps, and for those who use walkers or motorized scooters, well, it would be impossible. It can even be very painful for the older ex-high school football jocks like myself (tongue in cheek) with "old football knees" just to walk the almost 1/2 mile to the monument and back.  To be honest, I actually felt a sad about i.

All the way home I thought about how we could remedy that situation, and I think I finally have a  workable solution. 

The map below shows the current access to the monument, the graves, the historical makers and the monument.  The distance from the shelter house to the monument is 1,100 feet, meaning a round trip including walking in the cemetery, and walking around the grassy area at the monument could be a much as 1/2 mile plus we still have issue of the steps. 

Now, before I go any further with this, lets be clear, this is only a suggestion.  I have not contacted anyone on this so whether or not it ever comes to fruition will depend on interest.  In a nutshell, this suggestion includes a driveway back to the grave enclosure on the south side of the ravine and a parking lot for 2 vehicles with handicap stickers.  This would allow individuals with disabilities, particularly those who need walkers or powered scooters for mobility to have the same access to the site as anyone else.

  What if we could reduce the distance to 400 feet and no steps?

Access to a parking area like that shown above would be open only during normal park hours.   I know, I know....."what if people other than handicapped individuals would park there?"  Well, the fines are the same.   

Scope of the work.
The roadway leading back to the grave enclosure already there.  It would need to be improved or better yet blacktopped. The parking area would be a blacktopped area large enough for 2 vehicles.  Fine, but where does all the money come from to do this?

During the Bi-Centennial in 1976, I was chairman of several project committees (usually committees of 1) none of which had any money allotted to them so I always had to depend on civic minded businesses for money.  For this project, I have a better idea; the Boy or Girl Scouts of America. 

ATTENTION SCOUTMASTERS.......Several projects throughout the park were done by scouts working on their Eagle Award including installation of historical markers, the Murry Grave marker, the flag pole and the monument with the list of some of the men stationed at the fort.  A project like this would be the perfect project for a Scout working on that award. 

 No doubt there are probably hundreds of people over the years who, because of health issues or handicaps, were never able to experience the entire park with  all its beauty and history and probably never will. A project like this could change all that.