LETTER: Sharon O’Prey of Freeport writes: The difference between the two counties’ playgrounds on these facilities is a stark difference in providing accessibility to all children to the playground.
Recently we visited the Bay County Sports Complex (relatively new) and the Walton County Sports Complex (new).
The difference between the two counties’ playgrounds on these facilities is a stark difference in providing accessibility to all children to the playground.
Bay County has installed a base material that is a hard surface in which a person using a wheelchair, walker or other type of adaptive device to walk or maintain balance can easily navigate the playground on this surface. A mother with a toddler and a baby in a stroller can also easily wheel onto the surface.
Walton County used bark and wood chips which they say meets ADA specifications but, I'd like to see Mr. Jones (the county commissioner) or Jim Harmon (the county ADA person) try wheeling onto the bark and wood chip surface.
Then there is the equipment.
Bay County has a ramp leading up to the equipment for a wheelchair user to roll onto. They also have swings that you can access, a rotating device, blocks to build with, and other low level things to play with for everyone.
Walton County has two playground pieces, neither have a ramp. They have a climbing incline and stairs to navigate up.
In the fourth fastest growing county in the U.S. I would think we could do better at providing for both current citizens and future citizens. I wish the folks at the county level making these decisions would include citizens with disabilities to help them make better informed decisions before spending money unwisely.
I wish they would have the heart and compassion to include ALL.
Sharon O'Prey, Freeport