Broken courthouse chairlift strands county citizens
The inefficient, noisy air conditioning units aren’t the biggest concern at the Crittenden County courthouse. The building’s only handicap feature, the chairlift, has been broken for months.
County leaders say the only way to the courthouse is scaling stairs, and many are finding themselves stuck on the bottom floor. But people who live in the county are sick of being stranded on the sidewalk.
Pamela Winders says her husband is frustrated about being forced outside. She says he doesn’t dignify a trip to the courthouse anymore.
“He just can’t get up and down the stairs like this,” Winders says.
Winders says it’s inconvenient because of his artificial leg. She says without an easy handicap accessibility, he can’t conduct his county business.
The Crittenden County Courthouse is designed so that anyone who needs to work in the courthouse can’t without going up stairs. Because the chairlift has been broken since May, many can’t renew their drivers licenses or registrations.
County Circuit Clerk Melissa Guill says she tries to make up for the broken lift by meeting people on the sidewalk. She says it’s frustrating and affecting the way she’s supposed to run her office, not to mention the entire courthouse.
Guill says bringing paperwork outside to her citizens to sign is unacceptable. She says the building is beyond its functionality, but the clerk’s office is working despite the drawbacks.
Winders just wants to see an update. “It’s so hokey,” she says. “The one building in town that should be handicapped accessible, and it’s not.”
A spokesperson for the Administrative Office of the Courts says they’re aware of both the outdated courthouse and the broken chairlift. They tried to make a repair over weekend, but it’s still out of order.
The office says no decision has been made on a timeline for an update to the building or when the chair will be fixed. The office has also looked at leasing space for family court at City Hall. The Administrative Office of the Courts does not have a timeline on a decision for leasing.
The Administrative Office of the Courts says there have been issues with ordering parts.
Judge Executive Perry Newcomb says the state inspected the chair lift a month ago.