City Of Dothan Helps Handicap Citizens

By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email

Dothan City officials have been working to make sure citizens with disabilities are taken care of.

From elevator renovations to parking lot improvements, there are several regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act that must be followed.

For most of us, a handicap accessible sign means just that; but for officials of the city of Dothan, it means a lot more.

General Services Director Larry Muench said, "We're here to serve all of our citizens and that includes citizens with disabilities too. So, we think it’s important to make sure all facilities are available."

A few years ago, the City Engineering Department reviewed facilities that need renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

City Manager Mike West has committed $50,000 dollars a year to correct these issues over time. "In the Civic Center, we've created additional spaces by having chairs we can remove," he said.

Aside from buildings, amenities like pay phones and water fountains also have to be up to code.

"We think a lot about restrooms and wheelchair ramps, but there are so many other areas that people don't think about," Muench continued.

Dothan's old Opera House is in the process of being renovated to meet the needs of handicap guests.

"There are some issues with handicap accessible seating in the Opera House,” Muench added. “We've got some issues with access into the Opera House."

Some of the chairs in the Opera House may be removed so that those in wheelchairs can park it and watch the show.

"There is just no place right now for wheelchairs to be brought in with existing aisles," Muench concluded.

Because of the historic properties of the Opera House, it is a challenge for the updates to be completed.

As the city builds new facilities like McMillan Park, they are sure that the proper handicap adjustments are in place.

And, local citizens are also doing their part to help the disabled.

At the last City Commission meeting, Dothan Businessman Mike Schmitz donated four wheelchairs to the Civic Center so those that need some extra help getting around, can use them during events.

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