Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/1110863

CHEER Center needs accessible doors

By Bob Cahill | Feb 07, 2014

How hard can this be? I've solved problems bigger than this before. A few phone calls, some emails and let the powers that be in government know about this problem and it will be solved. Helping those in wheelchairs and walkers get through a few doors and it should be no problem. Was I ever wrong!

I joined the Harbor Lights CHEER Center over a year ago, when I moved to the Woods Edge apartments outside of Lewes, right off Kings Highway.

The CHEER Center is a nice place for seniors to socialize, play games, especially bingo, and have lunch for a few bucks. There is only one problem. There are no self-opening doors for those people with ambulatory devices.

These people struggle to enter. Someone has to open the doors (that's plural) for them to enter. Thinking this is in violation of the Federal Disability Act, I'm told not so, according to Senator Carper's office.

During this time period, I had a sit-down discussion with Ken Bock, the deputy director for CHEER. I explained and did a walk through with Ken. He was helpful in providing me with a drawing of the building. He also gave me an estimate for installing the doors. He made it very clear to me that it was up to me to find funding. OK, I'll contact state and local government to see if we can find the dollars to fix this. I spoke or emailed Sussex County officials.

What do I need to do? I must get a copy of the building's prints. I finally received a copy from CHEER and received permission to install the doors which are courtesy doors from the building's owner. I contacted the fire marshal's office and sent emails to my state and county elected representatives. I made some phone calls and received some response through emails. I got lots of advice but no money.

Finally, I received an email from Todd Lawson, our Sussex County administrator. In essence, Mr. Lawson told me that the request for the funding must come from Sussex County CHEER. As I previously mentioned, this is a low or non-priority with CHEER as their funding is needed for other obligations of a greater need. I can understand that, but it does nothing to solve the door problem.

So, here we are! I have now been told by state and county officials that if I could find businesses, corporations or, pardon the expression, “Someone with deep pockets” to fund this, that that would be my best bet. Or I could maybe find a grant writer.

The cost for this project would run between $10,000-$13,000 for both entrances. It would be half that amount if just one entrance was made handicap accessible.

I do not know how many seniors would now join CHEER if they had an accessible entrance. If, in my mind, just one person were to join, it would be worth every dollar. But I know that it would impact many more people than just a few.

If you or someone you know would want to help by partially or completely funding this project, please contact: Mr. Ken Bock, Deputy Director CHEER Administration, 5465 Bedford St. Georgetown, DE 19947. Phone 302-856-5187 or email kbock@cheerde.us.

Let Ken know you wish to have the courtesy doors installed at the Harbor Lights CHEER Center and are willing to offer financial help with this. Please mention that Bob Cahill has requested this. I live across the street from Harbor Lights CHEER. I can walk into the CHEER Center. This request if for those unable to do so. If you wish to contact me, my email is boblewes1@aol.com or boblewes1@comcast.net.

Most importantly, have a good day.

Bob Cahill
Lewes

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