ADA-Statement of Intent
Fauquier County Parks & Recreation Department is committed to giving all citizens equal access to recreation and leisure opportunities. In keeping with that commitment and the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is the Department’s intent to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities in all Department programs, services, and facilities. Requests for accommodations require a 72 hours’ notice.
PARKS AND RECREATION MOVES AHEAD…WHILE LOOKING AHEAD!
In December, 2010 Parks and Recreation contracted with Accessibility Consultants LLC, to address ways the Department could meet the obligations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The day-long training event opened the eyes of staff to two of the fastest growing demographic groups in the County: people with disabilities and seniors.
The ADA has many requirements, but three are of the utmost importance to the Department.
- All existing sites and facilities must be evaluated for accessibility to people with disabilities. The evaluation includes the obvious, such as the slope of accessible parking spaces, size of accessible restrooms, and door levers instead of door knobs. It also includes subtle measures, such as the pounds of force to open a door, the type of surface used in a playground, and whether lockers at a pool or fitness center are designated as accessible.
- New development, or alterations, must comply with the recently issued 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, which for the first time in history addresses parks and recreation environments. Playgrounds, pools, fishing areas, boating areas, sports fields, sports courts, and fitness facilities are addressed here.
- Department programs are open to participation by people with disabilities alongside people without disabilities. This inclusion mandate has changed the way Virginia parks and recreation agencies do business.
Generally, no matter what state or what county, the incidence of disability ranges from 12% to 18% of the population. That doubles for people aged 65 or older. In Fauquier County our incidence of disability is 14% or a total of 7,162 people over the age 5.
To address some of these issues, the Department hired Recreation Accessibility Consultants to conduct access audits of 11 sites. That work has been completed and the County will now consider ways to audit its remaining 24 sites. It isn’t enough to just audit sites though, and the Department will actively start to retrofit sites. Look out for the “pardon our dust” signs as we make changes so that all Parks and Recreation sites can be used by all Fauquier County residents.