STURGIS – Jessica Davies-Lyden wants the city of Sturgis to provide more facilities for children with disabilities in the city parks.
Davies-Lyden said there is only one in eight parks in the community that has a swing that can be used by children with disabilities like their son.
She said she came before Sturgis City Council on Monday, hoping the city would be ready to add more “inclusive” swings in other parks across the city.
“He should be able to swing with swings in every park,” Davies-Lyden said of her son. “He shouldn’t have to go to a park again and again in this city.”
Mayor Mark Carstensen stated that it is not that easy to just retrofit existing equipment. More work is needed to make them ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, he said.
“It’s a lot trickier than just putting on the new eyelets and calling it good. I think there are different things to watch out for, ”said the mayor.
Carstensen said that if the city wanted to add playgrounds or swap equipment, they would certainly consider including equipment.
“Over time, I think that’s really the plan. It’s something that requires planning, ”he said.
Sturgis City Manager said that whenever upgrades are made to existing facilities, they must be fully compliant with current ADA standards.
Davies-Lyden suggested replacing one of the baby swings in Rose Street Park and making it an inclusive swing.
Sturgis Public Works Director Rick Bush said an inclusive swing must be built on its own structure. It couldn’t be hung in place of an existing swing.
“The manufacturer won’t stand behind them unless they are put on their structure. You can’t take an inclusive swing and just put it on someone else’s frame, ”he said.
And once an upgrade or swing structure was added in a park, an ADA-compliant surface would need to be installed under the swing, Ainslie said.
Then an ADA-compliant path from the sidewalk to the swing would be required. In addition, the pavement curb cut at the intersection would eventually have to be extended to include the cut domes. Replacing a swing can cost between $ 3,000 and $ 12,000, the city engineer estimates.
Ainslie said the city added funds to its five-year capital improvement plan to improve the accessibility of ADA in city-owned facilities. The city council would ultimately determine which areas of the community are most needed for ADA upgrades.
Placing youth in the Sturgis ward should be a priority, Davies-Lyden said.
“I grew up with this park (Rose Street). In this city where we pay all these taxes, there was a new device in 30 years. We’re doing this big huge motorcycle rally. Where does our money go? It should go to our youth. It’s important, ”she said.
Councilor Dave Martinson said the issue of providing inclusive play equipment was not being ignored by the city.
“That will be a permanent discussion. Can any of us promise that something will happen within a few months or next spring? No, we cannot, but we will not forget it and consider doing everything we can. “
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