ONLY ON FOX: Louisville man wins better seating for disabled in Freedom Hall - WDRB 41 Louisville News

ONLY ON FOX: Louisville man wins better seating for disabled in Freedom Hall

Others have complained before, but a Louisville man has finally done something about limited seating options for disabled citizens at Freedom Hall.

Michael Godwin's two-year fight will allow wheelchair-bound citizens to buy good seats on the lower level of the Fairgrounds arena.

Michael Godwin possesses a sharp mind trapped inside a body crippled with cerebal palsy.  But if you tell him he's a second class citizen, expect a battle.

Godwin moves about in a wheelchair he controls with his head.  He speaks through a computerized device he also controls with his head.

But Michael's deterioriating body doesn't stop him from leading a fairly normal life.  For example, he's the Harlem Globetrotters number one fan and when they come to Freedom Hall, he's there.

In 2006, Michael and his companion Ferol Rowe tried to move from subpar wheelchair seats to see the Globtrotters at floor level.  Rowe says, "We did not want to be sitting in the corner again, because people would stand up and you couldn't see...they said, 'No, there's no way for a wheelchair to get down on the floor.'"

When asked how he felt about that, Michael simply says, "Mad!"

Michael and Ferol filed a complaint with the Kentucky Human Rights Commission claiming federal law guaranteed them equal access to public facilities.

After months of claiming improved wheelchair seating would cost a fortune, the Fair Board had a change of heart.  Emily Riggs Hartlage with the Human Rights Commission explains:  "We reached a conciliatory agreement with Freedom Hall.  They were able to work with us and come up with a solution to provide access to the stadium floor."

The agreement means disabled citizens who can afford the tickets can now get good lower-level seats to most Freedom Hall events, thanks to Michael Godwin.

Farol says of Michael, "He's not a troublemaker but, if he sees a wrong, he's going to make it right."

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