New Windsor Doors All Open Automatically For Those With Special Challenges
By Edie Johnson
Larry Crook is 82. He worked hard for many years for the Town of New Windsor Highway Department, raised a family, and had some serious health issues requiring surgeries. While his mind is sharp and he loves to visit his friends at the Town Hall and elsewhere, it has become an effort with his arthritis to walk without a walker or cane. Some public buildings have very heavy doors, and it is difficult for the elderly and those with special disabilities to open them with one hand while holding a walker or cane in the other.
New Windsor’s Town Clerk, Debbie Green, has her desk by a front window and saw that some people were struggling, including young mothers with babies, and people with minor temporary injuries, so she made the suggestion to her husband, the Supervisor, that they switch to automatic doors. George Green may have gotten an award for his innovations this week, but this one was Debbie’s idea. George took the idea to their town board, which thought it was a great idea. Not only can people with some special challenges come in more easily, they are encouraged, like Larry, to sit and chat and thereby learn about other offerings from the town and county, like Office of the Aging and Friendly Visitors, who will assist them in many of the daily activities they might not otherwise be able to continue. These door openers are provided with a large colorful logo so they are very visible, and even more importantly if the door starts to close before the person is all the way through, they stop instantaneously. They are now provided at Town Hall, The Marasco Center, Police Department and Court. Along with the town’s new All Inclusive Playground, it makes things inviting for everyone it town.