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Elkhart denies appeal on request for handicap parking

Thursday afternoon the Elkhart Human Relations Commission addressed the issue of handicap parking near the city’s most iconic venue.
 
The commission decided to dismiss an appeal on a request to make parking around the Lerner Theatre more handicapped accessible after they say no new information was provided to them.

The request was originally made by Richard Wolf, of Elkhart, in April.  

Wolf says the Lerner Theater attracts a lot of people but with the lack of parking spots and the location of those spots; it seems as though the disabled community was just an afterthought.  
 
Ten parking spots are lined up across the street from a theater that seats thousands.
 
“On Main Street only one was designated as a handicapped spot,” says Wolf. 
 
Wolf says even if you have a handicap pass, good luck finding a spot.
 
Wolf can’t travel very far with the cane and oxygen tank he needs to walk. The hundreds of feet between other handicap parking spots and the Lerner Theater motivated him to speak up.
 
“I’m trying to negotiate for better handicap parking around the Lerner,” says Wolf. 
 
Wolf has made suggestions to the city about improving accessibility.
 
“Having these spots for only box offices use is frankly insulting to the disabled community. Many disabled people could use that,” says Wolf.   
 
The number of handicap spots in the surrounding area does comply with ADA regulations. But Wolf wants the city to consider what it’s like looking for parking during huge events when options are already limited.

“Unless you experience it you don’t know how frustrating it can get. I’d say it makes people isolated,” says Wolf. 

Regardless of the Human Relation Commission’s decision Wolf says he is not done pushing to make the Lerner Theater more accessible to his community.

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