Probably not the kind that folks should be proud of or stick in the
tourist brochures. The Madison County Courthouse located in the
bustling metropolis of Wampsville, NY is the last county court house in NY state that is not accessible to persons with a disability.
Folks from independent living centers (agencies that fight for the
rights of those with disabilities) in Oneida, Onondaga and Broome
Counties paid a visit to the court house today, many using wheelchairs
and crutches, in order to attend the 100th anniversary celebration of
the building of the court house. They got as far as the foreboding
front entrance, 16 stairs standing between them and the front door. No
public tour and celebrations for them. More importantly, no ability
to serve on a jury or gain employment either.
In 2009, it is amazing that Madison County can’t figure out a way to
make its most important public building accessible to all its
residents. The county’s cries of poverty are not too convincing when
you see all the money that has been spent on modern annexes to the
building in what looks to be the 1970’s or 1980’s–yet they still
couldn’t take a crack at making the actual building accessible.
The photo shows two County judges and a state Court of Claims judge
announcing to the crowd that the public ceremonies would be moved
outside to accomodate them. When asked when the County was going to
live up to the letter of the law and make its public building fully
compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the judges
shrugged and pawned the issue off on the County’s politicians.