When you look into the world of accessibility devices like elevators, wheelchair lifts and custom elevators, a lot of the problems that arise come from local and state-level governments figuring out how to allot funds and start projects. Like any other organized process, councils must approve dates, budgets and other bureaucratic items before any type of project can begin. However, this sometimes puts the disabled and elderly at a loss, especially when it comes to mobility in public places.
This was the problem in Glenarden, MD, where handicapped citizens have been waiting for a new elevator to be installed in a local municipal building. According to Maryland Community News Online, the initial development had stopped due to funding and contractor issues:
“[Interim City Manager Donald] Bell said Wilkins could start work immediately upon approval and would replace Forestville-based Roane Construction Co., which the city paid $7,000 out of its surplus fund in 2011 as a payment for eventual work, only to learn that money went straight to the state because Roane owed the state money for an unrelated project, Bell said Monday.”
The article says this issue, although important, has negative consequences for handicapped residents of Glenarden. Census data from 2010 says that 11.6% of the citizens are age 65 and older, which doesn’t account for any disabled residents who would also need elevators. The reasons for installing a new elevator are due to this data and the difficultly some have faced with travelling around the James R. Cousins Jr. Municipal Center. There are still problems with obtaining funds for the expensive plan:
“The city has $167,000 in state bond bill money to complete the project, but Wilkins’ $178,000 estimate includes an additional $11,000 in county permits that the city is covering with city reserve funds…”
Luckily, people who need home elevators have a much easier time obtaining permits for installation. These types of devices are absolutely essential for confidence and self esteem, so let’s hope the Glenarden council can figure out its problems.