Officials take steps to fix stairs

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Courthouse accidents prompt action by county commission

By Damon Lawrence

The courthouse steps aren’t always the easiest to get up and down.
Slips and falls have happened from time to time.
Officials recognize the danger, which is why they plan to have the steps remodeled.  

“It’s going to be over Labor Day weekend because they need the extra time for the courthouse to be closed to complete this project,” said Roane County safety officer Scott Stout. “They basically will be taking off all the tile, reforming the steps.”

Stout said the project will also consist of making the steps wider and adding new hand rails.

Commissioner Bobby Collier said getting rid of the tiles, which can be slippery when wet, should be a big help.

“It will be all concrete,” he said. “We won’t have to fool with them tiles anymore.”

Collier is chairman of the county’s safety committee. Members met on Tuesday and discussed the steps project and another issue that Stout said has been causing falls at the courthouse.  

“There has been many situations ... of people who have fallen on the front bumpers that are in place,” Stout said. “What I’m talking about, the parking lot bumpers.”

The ends of the bumpers are black, and Stout said that’s the problem.

The fix?

“What they’re doing is resurfacing the parking lot, and while they’re resurfacing, replacing those parking lot bumpers with either all yellow or at least the ends very visible yellow,” Stout said.

Instead of replacing, Commissioner Ron Berry asked if the bumpers could simply be painted.

“We got an opinion from our risk management service — Travelers Insurance — and they said if you paint them and you do something to them and somewhere along the way the maintenance is not kept perfect and somebody slips and falls, we’re liable,” Stout said.

Collier also wondered why the bumpers couldn’t just be painted, instead of being replaced.    

“From what I understand it was going to be replacing the bumpers over there,” Stout said.

Officials didn’t seem to know who directed the bumpers to be replaced instead of painted.

“Who is this?” Commissioner James Brummett asked.

“I will look into that and I will give you a report,” Stout responded.