UPDATED: Change.org petition aims to open access to conservation club

Updated on 4/21/2020 with a response from The City of Linton:

In an interview with Mayor John Wilkes this morning, we learned that closing of the Conservation Club was unfortunate but vital due to the City’s liability of that property. The City was advised by their insurance company to close off the property for public safety reasons.

“Sadly, the property has been abused. Because it’s so secluded we had illegal dumping of trash and drug activity. The large property could not be surveilled around the clock and isn’t ADA compliant.” said Mayor Wilkes. “The risks to the City and public are just too big. The city was advised to prohibit entry for the safety of everyone.”

Mayor Wilkes explained that the closing of the property was not meant to exclude anyone–especially those with disabilities.

“There is often a lot involved in decisions made on City issues so the best way to have concerns addressed or questions asked is to always contact me directly.”

Those wishing to contact the City of Linton or Mayor Wilkes can do so by calling 812-847-7754 or visit their website at CityofLinton.com.

Original post dated 4/18/2020:

A screenshot of the Change.org petition to allow Lee access to the city-owned property

It is part of a new online petition on Change.org: Let Jarod fish!  The petition began due to gates being installed at the Conservation Club, an attempt to limit any vehicular traffic through the grounds that the City of Linton owns on the northeast side of the city.

You don’t have to venture out to the acreage, though, because it’s even posted on the City’s website under the “Breaking News” section of CityOfLinton.com that, “The City has installed gates at the Conservation Club that limits vehicle travel, you can still access areas by foot and bike to enjoy the outdoor activities. No vehicles are allowed beyond the gates without authorization.”

But it also keeps those with physical disabilities out, as well.  That’s where fellow, life-long Lintonian Jarod Lee enters the story.  

Lee said, “The conservation club borders my property and has always been a major part of my life. It’s even on book as Lee/Sherrard park. It’s always offered me refuge and comfort from my difficult life. I want it back and will not stop. The center of population, a historical monument, is being deprived of many as well.”

So, Lee, who has been confined to a wheelchair for a number of years, approached the city about getting a key to the gate, but he never received one.  “Apparently if you’re not a biped you can’t use the facilities of this great city” Lee said. 

“All I asked for was a key. I was told that, ‘if I give one person a key, everyone will want a key.’  Well, if you give some people access shouldn’t everyone have access?” Lee questioned.

He went on to say, “I tried to go about this the right way and was greeted with a ‘no’ as a response to my request for a key. A key that falls under a reasonable accommodation as defined by the ADA. People that know me know that I’m not a flag waiver. I do my part as a citizen and have my entire life here.” 

A gate was recently constructed to close off vehicle access to the Linton Conservation Club.

With the nationwide Covid-19 outbreak, Lee has found himself with more time to fish. With the gates installed and no key, though, he cannot physically get to his most favorite spot at the Conservation Club.

“On this beautiful spring day, I’d like to go fishing at the same spot I’ve been going for my entire life. Thank you to the powers that be for blocking off a city-owned park to the disabled, but allowing everyone else. I can’t see how this is okay. I’m not giving up, ” Lee said.

If you’d like to join the petition to allow Jarod use of the property by the City of Linton making some accommodations for his disability, please go here: https://www.change.org/LetJarodFish

Jarod Lee, a life-long Lintonain

The Lintonian™ reached out to city officials earlier today, but expect a response later since City Hall is closed for the weekend. We will update the story at that time.

Featured photo by Photo by Travis Saylor from Pexels.

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