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More handicapped accessible parking coming to twp. park



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July 11, 2012 - Ground will soon be broken on a new universally accessible parking lot at Seymour Lake Township Park.

"It is our goal to have it done before the fall soccer season starts," said Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Director Ron Davis, who roughly calculated the price for the upgrade to between $20,000 and $25,000.

In order to open Oxford Township public areas to as many visitors as possible and comply with federal accessibility guidelines, the Parks and Recreation board has been improving existing venues each year. Seymour Lake's new parking project came to the Park & Rec Board's awareness when approached by Jeff Gibbs of EPIC, a local family support agency. Gibbs informed Davis of the need in the community, and the parking lot project "was moved up the list when a parent whose child plays in our soccer program just wanted a (more easily) accessible site," said Davis.

To accommodate this family and others who may need it, Davis said, "We're going to put in a new universally accessible parking area at the Roseanne McGuire soccer complex.

"It will allow this family, specifically the father, to park access and view their child in a more user-friendly atmosphere or condition than what we currently have."

Davis said the project is part of a larger transition plan in place for many parks seeking to meet the different needs of attendees.

Since most parks were not accessible to disabled patrons when they were first constructed, Seymour Lake Park is not unique in its deviation from contemporary standards.

Many parks and recreation departments across the country are in a similar situation, Davis pointed out, and are "starting to make transition plans to identify those areas and make those improvements when possible," he said.

Beyond the legal directives in place from the American Disabilities Act of 1990, Davis offers a more important motivation for this additional parking.

"My late father was disabled, and I recall not being able to witness him experience things because of the limitations of accessibility. So as a Parks and Recreation professional, I know it's our right to put this in and my responsibility.

"We need to do these things to make opportunities available to everybody in our community. If everybody looked at it that way, the world would be a better place. I think so many times we get caught up in ourselves and not helping each other."

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