New LSHA boss refuses to
comply with ADA wheel chair requirements.
Columbia County, FL (posted
January 11, 2010)
Former LSHA Chairman, Jack Berry, along with his
protégé, Columbia County Commissioner, contractor and
LSHA construction manager, Jody DuPree, didn't much care
about the American's With Disabilities Act during the
renovation of the old county jail, which became the
new and unnecessary headquarters of the LSHA. The new
regime under the leadership of Chairman Marc Vann is
doing a little better, but not much.
In early November 2009, your reporter spoke with Lake
City, City Manager, Wendell Johnson, regarding the non
compliance of the new LSHA headquarters. City Manager
Johnson explained that the architect is responsible for
drawing plans that adhere to the ADA.
The conversation filtered down.
On November 9th, after the LSHA meeting, the Observer
learned from Chairman Vann that the Authority was going
to put ADA compliant handicapped parking on the west
side of the Authority building. This is where it
belonged and where it should have remained, closest to
The Observer asked Chairman Vann, "Is DuPree [that is
County Commissioner DuPree, also the LSHA construction
manager] going to pay for that."
The old jail was ADA compliant with handicapped parking
next to the ramp.
Mr. Vann, answered, "No. The Hospital Authority is
going to pay for that. It has nothing to do with them.
That’s on this parking lot that’s behind this building."
This is the handicapped accessible parking that Mr.
Berry and Commissioner DuPree had demolished.
The other DuPree screw up remains un fixed.
For months, it had been obvious that the glass access
window into the Authority's offices was not ADA
compliant and the Observer continued with his questions
asking, "Who is going to fix the window?"
Any one in a wheel chair would not be
able to access the only service window at the Authority.
Sue Fraze, the Authority's only employee for years
(there are now two) answered," There’s nothing we can do
to fix that."We’ve had no problem with handicapped
people coming up there."
Mr. Vann added, "I don’t know about that. I don’t
have an answer for that. There’s no plans to put a
handicapped window in."
Ms. Fraze, who at one time was looking to have a
window installed in the lobby, where it belonged,
concluded, "How can they do it now? They can’t put me in
a new window. They sure can’t fix that window."
Chairman Vann claimed Lake City gave the building a
clean bill of health.
During the December 14th LSHA Board meeting, Chairman
Vann brought up ADA compliance, stating that the Lake
City Building Department had given the new building a
clean bill of health. Mr. Vann told the Board:
ADA compliance -- and I left it -- but I will tell ya
all that ah -- I guess just for the sake and I will
bring it in and give it to Sue to put in with our
building stuff -- that the city building inspector wrote
a letter to my office. Said there'd been some inquires
about, ah, handicapped accessibility and the building --
ah -- being to code, in the different areas, for
handicapped use. Ah -- and he dropped a letter off
stating that they had made an inspection of the
property, during and since -- ah -- completion -- and
that all areas of public use are all ADA compliant. And
this is somethin we want to stick in our file, cause it
was an old building. It’s been remodeled and twisted and
turned and a lot of stuff done. And since there are some
areas that aren’t necessarily accessible to -- ah --
wheelchairs and other things -- ah -- those areas are
all areas that are not -- ah --public access areas. And
this letter states this. I just wanna put that in the
minutes and I’ll be bringin that letter over here. I
left it on my desk this afternoon.
Later that week, the Observer went to the Lake City
Building Department and obtained a
copy of the letter to which Mr. Vann referred. The
letter was not addressed to the LSHA and it did not give
the Authority a clean bill of health, as Mr. Vann
Upon reading the letter, the Observer asked Lake
City's chief building inspector, Troy Crews, if there
was another letter.
Mr. Crews responded, "No."
The Observer: "They said you inspected the building
and gave it a clean bill of health."
Mr. Crews: "They asked me to inspect the hallway on
the west side of the building. That's all we did."
The Observer: "What about the customer service
window. That's not accessible with a wheel chair."
Mr. Crews: "They didn't ask me to inspect that."
The Observer: "What about the handicapped parking."
Mr. Crews: "They didn't ask me to inspect that. I
inspected what they asked me to inspect."
January 14, 2010 - Cindy of Lake City wrote:
so I was reading this story and it really made me
mad. Well it really p---ed me off...I have a
son that is in a wheelchair. He can not walk. I also
have 2 other kids. My husband has copd and most of
the time can not even go into a store with the kids
and me because it is to far to walk in the parking
lot and then the store. When I moved to Lake City I
noticed that there are a lot of places that you can
not take a wheelchair to. Now reading this story
makes things worse. When I go to that hospital, I
put my kids at risk sometimes. If there is no where
to park and I have to park somewhere else then I
have to walk in the streets with all my kids. Now
from the pic that I have seen of Berry...I am sorry
to say but he is not getting any younger. One of
these days he will be in a wheelchair and then lets
see how he feels. I think this man has no manners.
January 25, 2010 - Laura wrote
I thought that when a
building was renovated whether it be Residential or
Commercial that building permits and inspections
were suppose to be pulled?
Maybe I am wrong but "Hello." Mr. Crews said
he didn't inspect it because they didn't ask?
Where is it written that the common lay person is
supposed to know the rules. Is that not why
you have titles such as Chief Building Inspector
(AKA), Troy Crews, employed by the Lake City
think the City Fathers should take a closer look at
this. Besides, Mr. Dupree's business is
Construction so shouldn't he have known about
compliance with ADA?
saying, sounds like a whole lotta "back slapping"
that chimps could have performed better!