A point was brought up at the most recent meeting of the “Standing Committee for Parks” which consist of 2 council members.
During a discussion on where to place the “Freedom Swing” one councilwoman was vehement in their wanting this swing to be placed at the Tot-Lot located at Marna O’Brien Park.
This demand no matter the cost was so stated because none of the other two parks in Wildomar have parking that is Handicap accessible.
Cost at Marna O’Brien was estimated at from $16,000.00 to $28,750.00 for which the party donating the swing had an additional $1,000.00 to contribute. The shortage was to be covered by a generous pledge of DIF (Developer Impact Fees) by one of the council persons and so seconded by the other with a nod of approval from the city manager. (Fortunately the father of the person donating the swing has volunteered to contribute a portion of the cost thru time, design and construction in placing the swing which will reduce the cost to the taxpayer, the total cost is yet to be determined.)
After looking into this claim it became apparent that this is indeed true. Although the parks themselves once inside the gates are accessible to all including all three of the Tot-Lots there is no parking set aside for easy access to two of these public facilities, Windsong Park and Regency-Heritage Park
At Windsong Park one has to exit a vehicle parked on the street in front of the park and traverse the roadway to one of two corners set approximately 140 feet from either of two entry ways. This makes for a distance travel of anywhere from 170 feet to 280 feet, the shorter distance is assuming there is a space close to the corners available. Most citizens who park their vehicles at the park do so in order to be able to see their vehicle will they are engaged making the longer distance more likely. A disabled person would have to park out of sight of the park in order to shorten the travel time and lessen the hazard of being in the roadway
In looking into the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act there seems to be some ambiguity as to what is exempt from compliance, the sad fact is all of our parks where built to be A.D.A. accessible without providing an acceptable means of getting to them for all citizens. Some will claim the city is protected by the Safe Harbor provision in the A.D.A but if we can be ready to spent over $25,000.00 to install an additional handicap apparatus to an already accessible Tot-Lot then there should be no reason that we can’t spent a little money making all of our parks more accessible to all citizens of Wildomar by installing an ACCESSIBLE ON STREET PARKING AREA.
Several designs are available that could be used at one of our parks with the other park S.O.L. due to drainage channels being used as entrances.
Wildomar city management has been made aware of the shortcoming to our city parks ADA compliance for YEARS. I know this because I personal wrote to them about the issues, and met with management to discuss the city’s exposure to both criticism and potential litigation with regard to this non-compliance.
The city has had several years and numerous opportunities over the ensuing years to bring the parks into compliance and make our parks truly accessible to all citizens. However, in planning their parks projects and expenditures they have ignored those opportunities in favor on nonsense like installing plaques which praise council, staff and volunteer groups for reopening the unfinished and poorly restored parks.
As Wildomar starts its seventh year, isn’t it about time to put aside the poor planning, juvenile nonsense, and overworked excuses of being a “new” city and get down to running things in a business-like manner that complies with the law?
Martha – I would like to know more about the specific shortcomings of each park if possible. Since taking an interest in some of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the city I would like to keep the pressure on officials to make it worth looking at and enjoying by more citizens and all citizens. With the aging of america its time to think of more than the children.