The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

February 22, 2014

Officials look to aid disabled visitors

CLINTON — The Clinton County Administrative Building may offer a wheelchair for disabled visitors.

A discussion was held during the Clinton County Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday in response to a recent case of someone coming into the building and requesting the use of a wheelchair. With only one entrance of the administration building open to the public, County Auditor Eric Van Lancker pointed out that someone visiting his office may have a long walk ahead of them.

For a person with a disability, this could require them to go slow or even stop and sit down at least once.

“We have a big parking lot. We have a big building to navigate. We only have one entrance now, one way to get out,” Chairwoman Jill Davisson said. “So I think it’s important we have something that accommodates (people with disabilities).”

Van Lancker and Human Relations Manager Lynn Tibbetts told the board that the wheelchair would have to be purchased new, so the county was aware of its exact specifications. The county previously has been offered old wheelchairs from county residents who have died.

Discussing possible liability issues, Supervisor John Staszewski maintained that he did not want to see the wheelchairs leave the building. Davisson said most of the people requiring this assistance are seniors who can walk, but are exhausted by the walk from the parking lot and then through the building. Building security would be in charge of maintaining control of the wheelchairs and making sure they are used properly.

Building Maintenance Manager Corey Johnson recommended the county purchases the largest type of wheelchair, which holds as much as 450 pounds. He added that if the security personnel feels a person might be larger than that, he will just have to ask the person.

The board agreed that a staff member from the department the person needs to visit will be called to come wheel the individual to that office. Employees will need to receive training on wheelchair use, especially using the brake and foot rest. Staff at the courthouse, which already offers a wheelchair, purchased by the sheriff’s office, will need to receive training as well.

The board directed Johnson and Tibbetts to look into purchasing the wheelchair. Johnson estimated its cost at $350.

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