Friday, March 30, 2007
Breaking Down Barriers
Wheelchairs barely make it around the Nampa Public Library. The historic buildings were remodeled to hold shelves and a little reading space, not provide easy access to older folks and those in wheelchairs. A tiny elevator gets a wheelchair to the second floor, but that floor is split level and another small elevator serves as a bridge. The tight layout throws up barriers everywhere. Perhaps the biggest problem for handicapped accessibility is the bathrooms. From my office window last week I saw a man who appeared in his early 30’s pull up in a wheelchair and repeatedly try to open the bathroom door. He struggled, finally pulling himself off his chair and inching his way inside the small restroom. I didn’t know what to do. Should I lend a hand? Does this happen often? Would my help be welcome? As the only bathroom on the main floor, I’m sure many others in wheelchairs have faced a similar situation. I left work that day more convinced than ever that a new building needs to serve all Nampans, particularly those who have to struggle to get around.