Concert Planned To Help Make Lucy The Elephant Accessible
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 31, 2003
MARGATE, NEW JERSEY--Every year about 25,000 people visit Lucy the Elephant and take a tour . . . of her innards.
Few, if any, use wheelchairs.
Lucy the Elephant is a fanciful six-story building that is a national landmark in the Atlantic City suburb of Margate.
She was built in 1881, more than 100 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Hallways inside Lucy are far too narrow for wheelchairs, her operators say. Building an elevator would drastically alter the character of the building that once was a family's home.
Lucy's keepers plan to make the tour experience accessible, however, by building a new interpretative center next door, complete with computerized "virtual tours" of the 65-foot tall structure. That kind of alternative is allowed under the ADA, particularly when physical modifications would substantially change the character of historic buildings.
Operators say the accessibility project will cost about $500,000. The federal government is pitching in $125,000.
Organizers hope a benefit concert by soul legends James Brown and Patti LaBelle on August 2 will bring in much of the rest that is needed, according to the Associated Press.
"Wooden elephant turns to soul legends for help" (Associated Press via Phillyburbs.com)
The Official Site of Lucy the Elephant, Margate, N.J.