Thomas Morin recently appeared before the Knox City Council and the Starke County Commissioners with a detailed 22 page document that lays out a handicapped parking plan for city and residential parking.
In his presentation, Morin explained to the Knox City Council what he wanted for the downtown Knox business district.
“We’re asking for six spaces around the downtown development district as well as the spaces at the Courthouse, which are now at the end of each block on Washington and Mound, to be relocated to the center of the block, directly in line with the front door,” he explained. “The handicapped who have business in the Courthouse can get into that Courthouse without walking three-quarters of a block in the rain, sleet, snow and ice to get to where they need to go.”
The presentation explained the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which he said ensured the ability to move freely throughout the city with little hindrance. He said, “I could have moved on the City by turning you in.”
“I could have submitted this to the Justice Department and they would have reviewed this prior to me giving it to you; however, that was not my intent,” he said. “My intent is not to open a can of worms and have them say ‘Well, why are they sending me this? Maybe we should go down and look at it. Why don’t they have anything?’ All I’m saying is to you, individually, maintain your responsibility to your elected positions and do what’s right. Do what’s right. Open up access to goods and services throughout this City and protect them. Not only does this program put together a parking program, it also puts forth a viable program to build a relationship between the disabled community and the City of Knox and the disabled community and the Knox Police Department.”
Morin said to alleviate the chore of writing tickets for handicap space violations, he would organize a volunteer group to take over the duties from the police.
“I have proposed a volunteer program to deputize a volunteer to police the parking within the City of Knox. That does one of two things. Not only does it build a relationship between the disabled and the Police Department, it also frees up the Police Department so they don’t have to designate desperately needed manpower for writing parking tickets when we have so many other pressing issues within the City.”
Morin said that he had polled the downtown merchants and was “amazed” at their negative response to his plans. He said over 26% of the city’s residents are handicapped and 22% of the County’s residents are disabled too. Morin said after he helps bring Knox to an acceptable parking level he’s heading to North Judson and Hamlet.
The Council and Mayor Rick Chambers thanked Morin for his presentation and promised to evaluate it.