I have been working hard with schools, elected officials and community members. We have 3 children and one with special needs. He requires a gait trainer to walk. He can't access playgrounds that use wood chips or tire pieces. He requires smooth surfaces. In 2013 we should have places in our community for kids to play as a family. It creates a barrier between kids with mobility issues and those who don't. We speak so loudly about bullying and not having accessible playgrounds creates that culture by making playgrounds a place that only some children can use. I as a parent have to carry my 40 pound child and walk with him using his hands much like you would a toddler. He then has to crawl on equipment. There are solutions for accessible playgrounds. I would love to see a solution. Please think about it.
Response: The Department of Civil Rights has worked with Parks and has reviewed 8 parks, 7 of which utilze the rubber chunks, which is considered ADA compliant. This year the Parks Department began using a new composite ground covering and it is hoped this will remedy some of the issues of accessibliity. In addition, DCR have been working with Parks architects on improving designs for new play structures. DCR has been in touch with the folks behind Elvehjem School accessible payground as well as the Stoughton Dream park group and these playgrounds may be used as benchmarks of accessibility. They incorproate the concept of "boudnless structures" in community parks, Parks will be assessing the concepts this year, although this would require significantly greater amounts of funding than those currently available. Madison Parks is committed to improving access to parks and playgrounds area. Based on federal standards wood chips and crumb rubber are deemed accessible. We are reviewing opportunites to establish regional "poured in place" play surfacing, which is a seemless rubber surface.