NEW LEXINGTON — Certain areas and services are reserved for those who are handicapped as moving around town and completing everyday tasks can become troublesome.
One lone villager of New Lexington took time on Monday night to talk about a concern regarding other local residents using handicap parking spaces, something that he thinks needs to be addressed.
The New Lexington Village Council gathered at the town hall on South Main Street for its bi-monthly meeting. Monday night proved to be a cold winter evening with some local residents making the trip to visit with the Village Council.
One resident visited Village Council with a concern and notes in hand to guide him along. Mayor Trent Thompson began the meeting by welcoming Tim Dold to the meeting. Dold’s concern revolves around the need for awareness about handicap parking spaces being used by those who are not disabled or handicapped.
A passionate Dold calmly approached council as he then stood in place facing all of the members with notes in hand. While he is not a villager of New Lexington, he believes this lesson is worth reteaching some of the members in the community. Dold introduced himself to the council stating that his children go to school in New Lexington, and that he is a frequent visitor to some of the businesses in town such as Kroger.
“I wrote myself a note here because I want to cover a lot of things and do it quickly,” Dold stated to the Village Council. “I am just going to read what I have. I think everybody will agree but the fact that I am here just seems crazy to me that I have to do this.”
Jumping into his written statements, Dold wasted no time in pointing out his purpose for visiting the council. He continued stating that the Kroger parking lot has become somewhat of a “mecca” for villagers in the area, adding he has seen handicap violations in New Lexington, as well as Junction City.
“I am here to voice my concern about the problem our Village has in regards to caring for and respecting the handicapped citizens in our community,” Dold explained. “Specifically their ability to safely and conveniently access and use their legally protected parking areas.”
Dold added that his intent by coming to the Village Council was not to harass or get violators in trouble with the law, but to clearly distinguish and reserve handicapped spaces for those who need it most and to “discuss a path forward.”
Giving the council some insight, Dold described his past experiences traveling abroad to nine countries and 31 states. He added that one thing which was constant in all of his travels, the ability to self regulate or not.
“A populous that self regulates and communicates with one another enjoys a far better quality of life than one that does not,” Dold commented. “I have seen this time and again… a person, all of us, should approach correction positively, deliver it respectfully and accept it humbly.”
Dold mentioned that he is a frequent visitor to the Kroger along Carroll Street. In the past when a non-disabled individual has parked in a designated handicap parking space, Dold has approached them with what he stated was respect.
“I have personally… I haven’t kept count but in the last two years I have probably spoke to two or three hundred people,” Dold stated. “At least one or two people every single time I’m in Kroger parking lot.”
Dold stated that he has been subjected to threats when reminding other villagers about the proper use of handicap spaces. He added that some have been humble, while others have ignored his verbal messages.
“Doing what is right isn’t a popularity contest,” Dold commented. “It also isn’t about clouding a simple issue with buts and ifs.”
Dold expressed that the handicap parking area needs to be enforced. The lone villager has already contacted New Lexington Police Chief Scott Ervin regarding the issue. With the officers the department has, it is difficult for law enforcement to properly survey the area when there may be other situations going on that need their attention.
Dold stated that the police department communicated to him that they could not send an officer to patrol the area. However, within days according to Dold, officers were sent to the parking lot.
“Enforcement is a positive step but it is not the final step,” Dold said. “I understand that the police have bigger issues on their plate but a child doesn’t learn respect when he’s 15 and breaking the law.”
Dold explained that he has received texts from others in the community commenting on how it’s new to see law enforcement patrolling the parking lot because “they thought they would never see it happen.”
The 14-year New Lexington resident stated that he is willing to work with Village Council as well as law enforcement to correct the behavior. Dold also provided council with photo evidence of people parking in handicap spaces. Police Chief Ervin stated some of the parking lines have been changed in the parking lot.
Ervin stated that it is difficult for his officers to enforce parking laws in the Kroger parking lot because of new lines that were recently made. Ervin added that he has spoken with the property owner regarding the issue and are trying to create new lines to clearly identify handicap areas.
Ervin stated that in the past, some disabled individuals have forgotten to put up placards showing that they are handicapped. While he stated that the parking violations are serious, it is not an efficient use of his department’s resources to constantly monitor the area.
A typical parking ticket for violating a handicap parking space may result in a $250 fine. Ervin expressed that if he or anyone sees a violation, to call the police department and they will send an officer down if time permits it.