Parks and Recreation Access Inclusions
PARKS AND RECREATION MOVES AHEAD…WHILE LOOKING AHEAD!
In December, 2010 Parks and Recreation brought in John McGovern, the owner of Recreation Accessibility Consultants LLC, to talk about ways in which 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. The first key requirement is that all existing sites and facilities, from the Vint Hill complex to the Warrenton Branch Greenway, 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. The evaluation 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.
The second key requirement is that 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.
The third key requirement is that 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.
Disability does connect to the aging or graying of our County residents. 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. Here in Fauquier County our incidence of disability is 14% or a total of 7,162 people over the age 5.
According to an Associated Press article on aging, by 2050 one of every five people will be 65 or older. The Department recognizes this and will make plans now to serve those people as this trend grows. To see the article, go to http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/aging-boomers-strain-cities-1006899.html.
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.
December 2010 initial staff training
Spring 2011 Departmental Audits begin
November 2011 Departmental Final Phase I Audits
April 2012 Departmental Final Phase II Audits
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. Contact the Administrative Office at 540-422-8550 or go to fauquiercounty.gov (click Parks & Recreation) for additional information. Requests for accommodations require a 72 hours’ notice.
Date Last Modified: 07/18/2012