Skate Park Closed – Not Handicapped Accessible

A Boston areas skate park has been ordered closed down because it does not comply with government handicap access laws.

Skate park told comply or close; Citing access violations, state official says, ‘Until it is open to everyone, it is open to no one’ (Patriot Ledger)

Photo: Mary Binda, 11, skates past a picnic table, which does not meet disability height requirements, in Marshfield skate park. The park has been cited for poor accessibility. (AMELIA KUNHARDT/The Patriot Ledger)The Uncle Bud Skate Park in downtown Marshfield is all it was designed to be – an outdoor community center for all ages with the skate park, a swing set, play area, picnic tables, checker and chess board, staging and seating. But designers left out a critical component: handicapped accessibility. And if town meeting fails to approve money to provide that accessibility, a state board will order the park closed.

The state Architectural Access Board, which held a hearing on the issue yesterday, has cited the town for several violations of state handicapped access regulations at the park. Yesterday the board voted to continue the matter to Sept. 30 to give Marshfield time to correct the problems. But the board’s vote included a provision to order the park closed immediately after the April 25 town meeting if voters rejected a request for $75,000 to make the improvements.

[…]

“I find this very disconcerting,” said board member Myra Berloff, director of the state Office on Disability. ‘‘(The park) seems to be a lovely place. It’s a place where the community gathers. I understand that these are errors, but I am inclined to say that until it is open to everyone, it is open to no one.”

Marshfield Public Works Superintendent R. Jeb DeLoach said the town has responded to some of the access citations. He said the town removed a portable toilet that was not handicapped accessible. The town also removed an inaccessible bench. The board has also cited the park because only one of three entrances is accessible and handicapped parking spaces are too few and too far from the accessible entrance. Also, there is inadequate handicapped seating in the park’s amphitheater, which seats nearly 400 people for concerts and movie screenings. The park has several picnic tables that are inaccessible.

Sigh.

via Sploid

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. denise says:

    “The town also removed an inaccessible bench.”

    I can’t even imagine what an inaccessible bench would look like.

  2. hln says:

    Harrison Bergeron.

    hln

  3. wavemaker says:

    James, I was going to post on this story this morning, but I looked into it a bit further —

    It seems that this is not the first time that the Town of Marshfield has proceeded with a public project ignorant of its obligations under federal handicap access laws. Each time in the past, they ABB has tapped them and been reasonably patient (for this board, which tends to be rather radical in their approach).

    The Board also said “fix these things by next September,” so they’ve been given plenty of time to remedy.

    Now I’ve seen plenty of idiotic applications of the access laws, but I have a hard time here, where the town clearly was just out-to-lunch and not doing their job.

    I own a family entertainment center three miles from the park — I’m going to try to donate it to the town for a fundraiser so they can raise this money.

  4. Michael Angier says:

    Having spent some time in Marshfield over the years and seeing how slowly things change and how long discussions can continue, I predict that the State demand that funding action be taken this month will not be met. Seeing action this decade MIGHT be possible. As an anecdotal example: I have heard people complain about the style chosen for the “new” Town Hall (now 30+ years old) as recently as last year.