Alabama pool owners struggle to meet new requirements | News
MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF)- Hotels, water parks and pools are scrambling to meet a new Americans with Disabilities act requirement.
These businesses have to have permanent pool chair lifts installed in less than a month.
The mandate is unfunded so counties, hotels, water parks and anyone with public pool access is having to come up with the money to get this done.
Depending on how many pools the business has, the cost could reach upwards of $21,000.
The chairs are in high demand with the new mandate and manufacturers can't keep up.
Kyle Parker, City of Madison aquatics director, says they're on an eight to 12 week waiting list for the additional chair lifts.
They already have a portable lift for their pools at Dublin Park, but according to the new law, they need three permanent lifts: one for the indoor pool, one for the outdoor pool and one for the baby pool that's just over a foot deep.
"The hotels and the motels alone is going to be, I mean that's a lot of facilities that you're looking at putting chairs in," says Parker. "And they're running into the same problem we have, because they have the pool and then the spa, and they're wanting them to get a chair for the pool and the spa."
Parker says they're happy to accommodate anyone with disabilities, but he thinks the mandate is too rushed.
It is not giving manufacturers enough time to keep up with demand, and it's not giving people enough time to work the requirements into the budget.
The city of Huntsville says they already have lifts installed in all of their pools, but a lot of places are like Dublin Park, and time is quickly running out to comply with the law.
South Carolina Representative Mick Mulvaney has proposed a bill that will give some extra time to get the lifts in place.
"We're here for the people and we want to make them happy, but we, I mean we need the time to get compliant," says Parker "And if we can't get a chair, if it takes eight to 12 weeks to get a chair, I mean there's nothing we can do about that."
The bill would also allow pools to used portable lifts instead of permanent ones.
There are an estimated 300,000 pools in the country that need the upgrades and manufacturers can only produce about 2,000 lifts a month.
In these cases, ADA regulations are usually only enforced when someone sues the businesses for not having the mandated access.
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