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I want to thank Anne Scott Plummer for her recent letter in the Winona Daily News.

She summarized the situation with the Winona Friendship Center beautifully. She covered how great our programs are, our accomplishments related to national accreditation and our location deficiencies related to programming very well.

She mentioned a point that I would like to elaborate on in just one word: parking.

If the parking situation isn't fixed, it won't matter how much space there is available in the Masonic building. We know that space to be limiting also, but if we can't get to the center it won't matter.

With Winona State beginning classes in its beautiful building just across the alley from the Friendship Center, that is going to bring 200 or more students into the area during the day.

Many will be driving cars. That will add to the problem of locating parking.

There is simply not enough parking and not enough programming space to make a difference.

We are older people. We are in our 70s, 80s and more. Many of us cannot walk three blocks from our car to the Center. It doesn't matter if it is summer or winter.

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The truth is that when you are older and add handicaps to the age, it just doesn't work. There are people who can't come to us now for these very reasons. How many more will stop coming as it gets worse?

The Council has reiterated that it recognizes the problem and is working on it. But how do you add parking spots (some handicapped) to an area that has no open space within a block or less of 5th and Main streets?

The area where the old middle school auditorium sits is more than two blocks away. How does a person needing a cane, wheelchair or motorized scooter supposed to get through the snow banks, across the streets and curbs and into the building safely? The simple answer is, they don't.

Please move us to the East End Rec and allow the older citizens of this community to continue to socialize, educate and entertain themselves.

There is money for walking trails and ice climbing. Respect us enough to consider bonding options to finance an improvement that will benefit two major groups in our community -- youth and older adults.

Respect us enough to care.

Joliene Olson, Winona

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(1) comment

martin

Well said Joliene. Maybe the city of Winona can think about this instead of the Levee and Downtown for awhile.

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