We went to the holiday craft show at the Ozark Folk Center last Saturday. When I go there, I need to use my scooter constantly as the Folk Center is built in and on hills, up and down steps. I have to admit that they have made huge advances in past years to make it accessible to all of us. There are ramps now, elevators to get people up and down where there were steps before. Oh, the steps are still there, but so is the elevator.
The doors to the entries, whether through the gift shop or through the administration building still need two people to open them. There is no button to push to make them open, nor are the doors activated by motion like at Walmart.
The bathrooms are inaccessible. In fact my scooter won’t even get near them. A person in a wheelchair would find low toilets like everyone used to have, but in one bathroom, I found a grab bar so I could haul myself up from those tiny toilets.
But they try.
Maybe during this winter when they are closed, they could make those doors open with a button and put in a few taller toilets with grab bars.
I could get in the buildings where the displays were with no problems. Sometimes the display spaces required 10 point turns, but I was welcomed warmly and heard absolutely no comments like “Why do you expect special things just for you?” Or, “You could just stay home and not make us spend all this money on you people.”
Oh, you don’t believe people say those things? Ride a block in my shoes. You would be amazed at the words that come from ordinary people’s mouths.
Wait, no, you wouldn’t. You are hearing worse words from our Republican presidential candidates every day. And many of you are embracing those very hate filled words. I am so sorry you are so filled with hate that you feel like you have found your tribe when you hear potential leaders spewing filth filled hate.
But, I digress. Ozark Folk Center, you are doing so very well making your wonderful park accessible. Your chief gardener Tina Wilcox said that she has had an sign language interpreter for her classes. Is that great or what? And she is wanting a few alterations to her greenhouses so she can accommodate people who use wheelchairs. I have a few ideas about how she can do that.