The City of Burlington picked up the Gosse Ct armory cheap from the National Guard in 2005… but what to do with it? Local media has reported some of the discussion about what to do with the dilapidated building.
More ideas and debate have surfaced this week through Front Porch Forum. One member suggested a fitness center. A neighbor responded that we had plenty of opportunities for fitness. In defense of his original idea, Patrick Standen responded to his neighborhood forum:
With all due respect I think I am a pretty good judge as to what is accessible and not having spent 30 years in a wheelchair, served on federal, state and local access boards and functioned as an ADA consultant–that’s the Americans with Disabilities Act. Sadly, our YMCA does not provide “A fine fitness center… for all abilities” because it is completely wheelchair inaccessible. Having worked closely with the Y, accessibility is one of their top concerns, but their current building cannot accommodate visitors w/mobility impairments–it is an embarrassment to the Y. The only solution will be a new building.
As to the beaches and sidewalks, have you ever tried to access the lake from a wheelchair? Burlington lacks any wheelchair-friendly accommodation to the lake and the well-lit sidewalks may be lit but not very wheelchair friendly during the winter months.
I don’t mean to sermonize, but it is just this insensitive lack of awareness that keeps Vermonters with disabilities as second-class citizens without the same rights and opportunities as the larger population. While Burlington prides itself on being “progressive” and “liberal” it is in the dark ages concerning accessibility and disability rights.
Let’s keep the dialogue going…
As a father of a 1st grader who depends on his wheelchair to get around this city, I can only add… Amen Patrick.