McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Police/Courts

April 2, 2012

Kiowa Board of Trustees told to tackle ADA accessibility issue or face possible Federal lawsuit

McALESTER — Kiowa City Hall is inaccessible for those with disabilities and the time to correct the problem is now, according to Pam Pulcheny assistant director of Oklahomans for Independent Living.

Pulchney spoke at a recent Board of Trustees meeting for the Town of Kiowa.

“The American Disablitly Act has been the law since 1990 ... I’m surprised nothing has been done here,” Pulchney said. She said the situation has been brought to the attention of  Department of Justice yet; but it will if accessibility improvements aren’t made soon.

Pulchney said she was asked to visit Kiowa City Hall after Kiowa City Clerk JoMae Peck said she received a letter from OIL regarding access to the building and asked for a representative to come to the meeting to make recommendations for improvement.

 The City of Kiowa posts it’s meeting agenda on the front door of the building. On the bottom of the agenda is a notice that states, “Special accommodations for the handicapped may be done with a 24 hour notice.”

 Pulchney said she also saw the 24 notice advertised in the newspaper.

“A city building must be immediately accessible to a (disabled) person during all regular hours.” said Mike Ward Director of OIL.

Steps with no rails are on the front access to the city hall. A gravel parking lot and a crumbling ramp that is to the left of the entrance. There is no railing on the ramp. At the top of the ramp is a bump and the space at the top of the ramp is also the smoking area for Kiowa City Hall.

There is also no accessible parking in front of or in the gravel parking lot next to Kiowa City Hall.

During meeting Pulchney discussed the assessment she did of the building.

The gravel parking lot was one of the issues Pulchney discussed. “Get rid of the gravel; one slip and you are liable.” She said the entrance doors were also inaccessible as well as the bathroom. 

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