Old Slab needs to be patrolled by police

Dear Editor,

For years I have taken my kids and others to enjoy the place we call the Old Slab.

Recently, we loaded up with our floats and grill to enjoy a day of swimming and cooking out on the Cahaba river, only to be turned away by a gate and a sign that said ‘no vehicles beyond this point.’

I am getting up in years and have many friends who are disabled veterans and also friends who are handicapped.

I understand there has been lots of trouble at this place that so many of us cherish, I have seen it first hand, but along with that, most of the trouble that I have seen has been from underage kids drinking and taking things too far.

We cannot see our cars where they have put the river access parking. We don’t want to leave them there, where troublemakers can break into them and we won’t know it until we return.

Many of us older people have asked the sheriff’s deputies and also the game warden to patrol it regularly so that the troublemakers would stay away. Our requests have fallen on deaf ears.

Their response was, “We don’t like coming down here,” so now, we that do not cause trouble and go to enjoy the water and the fellowship of friends and good food have to suffer with nowhere to go to beat the heat on the weekends.

The other side, which is what we call the Pea Ridge or Montevallo side, also has a gate that has been put up but it is only 100 feet from the water.

We have 1,280 feet to walk and haul our stuff to reach the slab.

There is no way in the world that the older and handicapped can access the slab.

As I said, many of us have asked the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department to patrol to keep the trouble away, but for some reason, they have refused. This is discrimination against the handicapped and the elderly.

I was told by a conservation officer that the gate would be opened from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., but this is not the case.

I would suggest to Shelby County that if they want to avoid a lawsuit for not being handicapped-accessible, they open the gate for us who do not cause trouble, do their job and patrol the place like they should have done in the first place.

Let us enjoy the Old Slab as we have always done.

Mike Cottingham