The Eagle/Cheryl Hoefler
CANYON CITY – Something new is up – and down – at the Grant County Courthouse.
It’s taken more than a few years, but the courthouse finally has a working elevator.
The long process was completed on June 30, according to Grant County Judge Scott Myers. The County Court had been working to fund and construct the elevator since at least 2013.
First day of operation for the new mode of transportation was July 9. It was constructed in part of the stairwell.
The elevator replaces a stairlift that was installed in 1989 at a cost of $33,557. A motorized open platform, it moved along a staircase railing, rounding two corners and over 24 steps, to the third floor where the Circuit and Justice courts are located.
It could carry someone in a wheelchair, or a person was able to ride seated on a fold-out chair. However, Courthouse staffers who operate the lift say it would draw attention and embarrass people who needed to use it. It often stalled, requiring an employee to use a hand crank to get it moving again. It also has a weight limit that can be a problem for some of the heavier chairs, and some users were leery about the open platform and uneven motion.
Tammy Wheeler, Circuit Court trial court administrator for the 24th Judicial District, said the County Court is to be commended for taking swift action on the elevator installation.
“They saw it as a top priority,” Wheeler said. “This is a shining effort of the state and county governments working together.”
Circuit Court is among the offices housed on the top floor of the courthouse, and therefore one whose clients were often likely to use the stairlift – an old system Wheeler said was “degrading.”
“For us, having access to our citizens is very important,” said Wheeler.