Design competition to make S.A. City Hall more accessible

San Antonio City Hall looking to improve handicap accessibility

SAN ANTONIO - A design competition is expected to improve access to San Antonio City Hall for people with disabilities.

The City of San Antonio is teaming up with the American Institute of Architects for a competition to design a solution that makes City Hall better accessible to individuals with special needs.

In front of City Hall, there’s no wheelchair ramp. It's estimated that 200,000 people who use a wheelchair in San Antonio can’t access the front door of City Hall.

KENS 5 spoke with one of them about some overdue changes that are now in the works.

23-year-old Nathaniel Pitts said he always feels discriminated against when he visits City Hall.

While he loves politics, he has cerebral palsy and is bound to a wheelchair. He said he feels shorted always having to enter through the back of the building.

“The wheelchair ramp is all the way around the back of the building,” he said. City Hall was built in 1891.

Once he's made it to the back of the building, he said that's only half the battle.

“You have to go to the basement and find someone who can open the door. Then, you have to take an elevator to get up,” said Gordon Hartman, founder of the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation. “It’s just simply not right."

On the front steps of City Hall Tuesday morning, the city announced it's teaming up with the American Institute of Architects to start a design competition to come up with creative solutions for an accessibility option for one of the city's most historic buildings.

"After some 120 years, we are aggressively making City Hall accessible,” said Hartman.

Pitts hopes this change will spread to all the other buildings he has trouble getting into.

For now, he's excited about being able to finally enter the front door of a building. He hopes steps like this will help him build his own future.

"I might want a career in politics, [possibly to become] a Texas state senator,” said Pitts.

The design winner will be announced Aug.16.

Hartman hopes the design will be aggressively placed in the 2018 city budget.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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