Past post commander objects to decision

The city of Elkins has recently eliminated parking on Railroad Avenue at the American Legion Post Home. This was pushed through without regard to the historical use of this area and a complete disregard to the members and guests of H.W. Daniels Post 29.

As a past commander of H.W. Daniels Post 29, I must protest this affront to our members and citizens most strenuously. The mayor recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This seems to be a direct violation of this law.

When an explanation was requested, there have been a variety of excuses put forth, none of which are acceptable or satisfactory and much “buck passing.” We are trying to find out who initiated this and the reason it was ever brought up.

First, they tried to pass it off on the Division of Highways, then three council members and then “safety” concerns.

The reality appears to be too many people with too little to do, trying to justify their positions, resulting in the tail wagging the dog. Some of our members and guests utilize canes, walkers, wheelchairs and artificial limbs. Our department adjutant is a double amputee.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have sidewalk ramps, easy access ramp, a chair life and used to have handicapped accessible parking. Now we are told there is parking on the side street and a block away. Try maneuvering a wheelchair or walker through an uneven gravel parking lot or dodging the traffic at the intersection with these devices.

In the history of Post 29, it has always been safe to access the Post Home from the parking out front. If there is any increased traffic on Railroad Avenue, it’s because drivers are avoiding the traffic lights on Davis Avenue, which I have done many times.

Elkins is in a decline. I returned from Kentucky in 1969. The 1970 census showed a population of 8,287 residents, which peaked at 8,536 in 1980 (we had two hospitals) and then the commencement of the decline with 7,420 residents in 1990, to 7,341 in 2000, 7,094 in 2010, with the projected 2020 figure given at 6,655 to 6,990.

Clearly, these is no need to restrict parking in this area. A traffic light would make more sense.

Elected officials and public employees have an obligation to consult and not dictate to their constituents, which raised the question as to why there was no discussion and provision for public input.

Too many think our small community should be governed like New York City or Pittsburgh. Fortunately, I am still able to walk a block to the Post Home, but not as fast; however, there are many who need easier access and it should not be denied.

John F. Simon



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