The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 3, 2014

Family friend to Danville council: Pave for 'Gabby'

By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News

—  DANVILLE — Eight-year-old Gabriella “Gabby” Griffiths enjoys going outside in her wheelchair.

But her aunt Marcelinda K. Griffiths has a tough time pushing her anywhere because of the condition of the alley behind their home at 108 Clinton St.

A friend, Linda R. Page, wrote a letter to Danville Borough Council asking if the alley can be leveled and paved.

She wrote the only handicapped accessible entrance to the home is to the rear. The home has a ramp leading from the home to the garage where Griffiths can put Gabby, who was born with cerebral palsy, in her van. This way, she can keep her out of the elements.

A bus, with a lift, uses the alley to take Gabby to first grade at Danville Primary School.

This past winter, Griffiths’ four-wheel-drive van got stuck in the alley.

“The lane has become so rutted with potholes and uneven surfaces that the homeowner’s vehicle has difficulty getting to the nearby paved road. This child requires nursing care in the absence of the homeowner and the nurses also have trouble accessing this property. It appears that wheelchair access for walks through the borough will not be possible due to the condition of the lane,” Page wrote.

At Tuesday’s night council meeting, Council President Scott Richardson directed the borough street department to inspect the alley and make recommendations to the council.

Griffiths was glad the council is considering the letter. “It gives me hope that sometime it will be fixed. If they do the rough part, it will be helpful,” she said.

She said the alley is the only access for at least three families.

“This upper end is bad,” she said of the alley she estimated at 300 feet long.

The condition of the alley got worse with the bad winter when chunks of pavement came off from plowing snow, she said. The borough plows the alley.

She said the alley, which was paved, has been deteriorating since she moved there in 2008. Gabby has lived most of her life with her aunt.

“I have a gait trainer that keeps her upright with two big wheels that I push her in. I can’t use that at all on the alley,” she said.

She said Gabby will never be able to walk. She also can’t stand or crawl but has movement of her arms and hands.

When Griffiths is working as a registered nurse at Geisigner Medical Center, Bayada nurses care for Gabby.

Email  comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.