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Health News Florida

Handicap Parking Fines Could Help Pay for Jacksonville SAFE Center ADA Renovations

Words of survivors are posted through the new the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Center.
Words of survivors are posted through the new the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Center.

City money from handicapped parking fines could help pay making the city’s new Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Center completely accessible to those with disabilities.

The Women’s Center of Jacksonville handles the city’s forensic evidence collections for sexual assault cases.

Their forensic exam center, called the SAFE Center, is where victims can go for forensic exams and lots of other services people need after being sexually assaulted, and it just moved into a newly renovated building on Emerson Street.

Women’s Center Board President Lise Everly said last month the new place is a big improvement over the downtown location.

“There was only one exam room. It was on the second floor, so not always handicapped accessible,” she said.

Learn about the SAFE Center here

The purchase and rehab of the building cost just over a million dollars, which the Women’s Center had to raise, in addition to extra reserve funding.

“We had to make a leap of faith to decide to buy the building before we had the donations to support it, and it was the right decision. We’re glad we did,” she said during an interview last month at the center’s ribbon-cutting.

Everly said then she was hoping to get city money for required ADA upgrades to make it handicap accessible. And a newly introduced city bill designating nearly $100,000, which  would come entirely from fines for improperly parking in handicapped spots.

The bill will start going through the City Council process next week.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.

Copyright 2020 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.