April 8th, 2003
By Helen Barrett
Alva Review Courier
For those with good health, the stairs at the Woods County Courthouse were merely an inconveniencea reminder of how out of shape they might be.
For Elda Jones, whose mobility is restricted to a wheelchair by multiple sclerosis, the steps were an insurmountable barrier.
Until now, Jones could not make it to the court room on the upper level, to the main floor to take care of business, nor the basement for shelter.
Now that the elevator in the Woods County Courthouse is completed and gliding smoothly from floor to floor, persons with disabilities, like Jones, have one less barrier to access county services.
"You don't know how thankful I am to have this," an elated Jones said as she wheeled off the elevator to the cheers of courthouse employees the first official passenger. "I think it will be helpful to the community."
During the tornado season of a couple years ago, Jones, who lives in a mobile home, sought shelter in the courthouse. To reach the storm shelter, deputies and staff members carried her to safety in the basement.
"We had three people in wheelchairs here during that storm," Jones said.
A mini-celebration was held to mark the elevator's completion. County Commission Chairman Clint Strawn said, "We owe a lot of thanks to O.E.D.A (Oklahoma Economic Development Authority) and Kirk Fisher who provided most of the funds for this project. This helps the courthouse meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Association) compliance."
The project began Labor Day of 2002 and was completed the last day of March, according to maintenance supervisor Steve Foster.
"Maybe we'll have peace and quiet now, no jackhammers," Foster said.
© 2002 MyWebPal.com