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Witt: Designate local parking spaces to honor veterans

The Clark County Public Library recently designated a ‘Veteran Only’ parking space in its 96- space lot.

This was an action taken to recognize the sacrifices made by the many veterans in this county and elsewhere and it is an action that should be mimicked by several other entities here.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends certain percentages of parking spaces to be dedicated to those with disabilities.

Those recommendations go from a high of about 4 percent of total parking spaces to a minimum amount of about 2 percent.

The library has four dedicated to handicap parking. The addition of this single veterans’ parking space will represent just about 1 percent of the total parking available at the building.

One percent doesn’t seem too much to honor and recognize veterans.

It’s possible there are other parking lots at businesses and establishments around the county which have designated parking for veterans, but there are some large expanses of parking at locations here which could easily accommodate 1 percent of their space for similar use.

Using Google Earth, it is easy to locate these large expanses of parking and to calculate with a pretty good accuracy the number of parking spaces available.

Here are a few: Walmart, 910; GRC, 800; Clark Regional Medical Center, 629; Lowe’s, 600; Kroger Plaza, 570; Amazon, 726; Campbell Middle School, 485; First Church of God, 286; Central Baptist Church, 278; Justice/Conkwright Schools, 252; Colby Center, 194; BCTC, 182; and First Methodist Church, 92.

There are a few other large parking lots about as well.

It is easy to calculate what just 1 percent of spaces dedicated to veteran parking would occupy in each of these locations.

And maybe, since there are some handicap-designated parking spaces in the downtown area on the public streets, one or two additional spaces could easily be assigned for veteran parking.

Wait! Don’t suggest that there are too few parking spaces downtown to designate any more to a single purpose.

There are more than 400 parking spaces in the downtown area, all within easy walking distance of virtually all the businesses and offices there. And those  400 spaces don’t even include the public or private parking lots or the city and county lots by City Hall and on West Broadway.

It would be very easy to designate at least one veteran parking space in the county lot on West Broadway and one such space at City Hall.

Virtually everyone recognizes the importance of providing easily-accessible parking spaces for those who are physically challenged.

Is it not appropriate to provide a modest amount of designated spaces for those who have offered the supreme sacrifice to their country, even if they do not suffer from the challenges of others?

There are, one can be sure, some veterans who are physically challenged and who would qualify to make use of handicap-accessible parking spaces, but decline to do so, realizing there are others who suffer more severely.

To be sure, there are also a good many people who conveniently use a handicap sticker in their vehicle whenever they think it convenient, even if they don’t have debilitating conditions.

This simple recognition of veterans’ service is something that is overdue and something that can be so easily accomplished.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.