BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Charles Jones loves football, even playing college ball back in the day at Harding University in Arkansas.

“Being a poor country boy, all I wanted to do was get that degree and get a job,” said Jones, an Army veteran.

But like many former players, the wear and tear of the sport has taken its toll on Jones’ back and knees. Jones said he has spinal problems, as well as meniscus missing from both knees, making it hard for him to go uphill or around the corner. However, that hasn’t stopped him from coming to Protective Stadium to cheer on the Birmingham Stallions.

“I like to analyze the coaches and see what kind of plays they call,” he said.

Jones said he likes the new stadium, but he wonders if more thought could have been given to fans like him with accessibility needs.

“As far as parking is concerned, I don’t know that they took that into consideration,” he said.

Being on a fixed income, Jones prefers parking on the east side of the stadium. It’s $10 less than the other lots, but has no parking spots designated for people with needs

“If you don’t get here early, it’s jam-packed, then what you got to do is try to find a parking spot,” Jones said.

He said finding a parking spot is only half the battle.

“You either got to have somebody to drop you off or make sure you got a chair with enough power to either go down the hill and turn the corner or go up the hill and turn the corner,” he said.

BJCC director Tad Snider said he and his staff have looked at what they can do to make the approach from the east side of the stadium easier.

“So we’re looking at the opportunity there to make than an accessible entry gate,” Snider said. “It wouldn’t be a public entry gate, but one that can certainly meet the needs of patrons with accessibility needs.”

Snider they’ve received constructive feedback on the issue and are working with the private owner of the economy parking lot to add several spots for people with disabilities. That change will happen by the weekend.

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