Bad Mama

Mama Bear
September 27, 2007, 2:17 pm
Filed under: Disability, Peanut

I sent an email the other day to the city parks department. A neighboring suburb is putting the finishing touches on what they are calling a 100% accessible play park, and I was wondering if there was something like it here, because I hadn’t seen one. There are a large number of parks in Madison, so I thought there must be someplace where there is a play structure with a ramp, or has some paving to the toys, for instance. It’s just that I haven’t been to one. Here is my letter:


I am the parent of a mobility-impaired child in Madison, and have been watching with interest the building of the accessible play park in Sun Prairie. I have not been able to find a remotely similar park in my area (near-east side). Is there a park in Madison that has play structures designed for disabled children? I know several places have swings that offer more support, but I’m talking about paved paths and ramps to play structures, etc. Thank you.

So I asked, fairly politely, I think. This, in part, is the response I received (and it starts with the first line, there was no greeting):

“Almost all of our playgrounds are accessible with a path system to the equipment. All of our older community park playgrounds also have the accessible loose-fill surface and we are continuing the transition, whereas many of our older area park playgrounds now have accessible loose-fill surfacing. In a few instances we have done new additions to older neighborhood park playgrounds that have included upgrading those surfaces with accessible loose-fill material…In all cases our playgrounds are designed to include a transfer point for inclusive accessibility. Only in a couple cases do we have a ramp onto the structure as that concept has not been totally endorsed by the Access Board or CPSC. Additionally, ground based activities are included in many playgrounds to contain that inclusive element as recommended by the Access Board.”

He goes on to tell me how expensive and difficult it would be to create a “Destination Park” (I don’t doubt that at all) and how some are being shut down because they can’t afford to maintain them. That’s nice info, though I didn’t ask for it. And then he told me to check the city website for info on accessible parks. Which I did before I emailed, but didn’t find any information.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get the urge to write back saying, “thanks, I’ll tell my kid that apparently she just isn’t trying hard enough, since she can’t play on anything in any park we’ve been to without help.”

Instead, I will be finding out who this “Access Board” is composed of, and letting them know how well their plans are working. Possibly a letter to the newspaper as well. Because before, I was simply disappointed. Now I’m pissed.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

It is sad that he replied to you in the legal mumbo-jumbo about loose-fill, but even more sad is that he is probably required to.

Is peanut still seeing a physical therapist? I bet they would know where to find a playground that is perfect for her.

Comment by Jen

How bloody appalling. Absolutely bloody appalling.

Comment by Jennie

That person is a dork for not answering your question. Not to mention incredibly rude.

Here’s a bit from the city parks website you can throw in their face:

Just check out the first section of their mission statement, and also the vision statement.

Have fun with this! Go you mama bear!

Comment by mel

Can you take pictures of Peanut attempting to navigate the “accessibility features” they claim? Or even videos? Maybe the rude dork needs to see a real kid having no fun in the playgrounds before he’ll believe it’s a problem.

I just got back from an accessible playground–there were easily a dozen kids on wheels in, on, and under the play structure, with others using walkers or orthotics. It can be done.

Comment by Penny

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