A skywalk but no curbside drop off?

Published 11:56 am Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dear Editor,

In January our Charlotte County supervisors approved plans for a courts facility that will cost more than $12 million. How many county residents realize the “connector” between the massive new building and the smaller circuit court clerk’s office is not located on the ground?  

In plans presented in December and approved in January, the “connector” is an enclosed bridge, also known as a “skywalk,” suspended in open air between the historic tavern and the new building. The only public access to the clerk’s office will be through the new building.

How many citizens realize the plans don’t provide for curbside drop off at the entrance?  

According to the December plans, to enter the new courts building from the new parking lot, you will climb steps to a plaza, cross that plaza, go under the “skywalk,” climb more steps to a landing, cross the landing, climb more steps to the main level, then finally turn left to head toward the entrance.  

What if you are not in great physical condition but you don’t qualify for handicap parking? What if you must negotiate these steps with young children and strollers?   

If you qualify for handicapped space, you must park on the far side of the new building, then cross its entire length to reach the entrance. This distance is not under cover. If you need a cane, walker or wheelchair, it will seem a long distance in rain, snow or heat.

Shouldn’t a public building with almost 30,000 square feet offer curbside drop off —  near the main door? Should one of the best-preserved rural Courthouse Squares in the nation have a “skywalk”? 

Ask your supervisor why he or she voted for plans that include a skywalk but no curbside drop off. Ask your supervisor to eliminate the connector and provide a place to get out of the car near the door. 

P.K. Pettus