The city of Redmond’s Park and Recreation Department is developing an ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) transition plan that will make parks and trails more accessible for all.
As of October, all 47 parks and 39 miles of trails were audited by WT Group’s Accessibility Consulting based out of Illinois. According to Redmond’s senior park planner Jeff Aken, the audit started in parking lots at local parks and worked its way toward bathrooms, playgrounds, trails and fields.
Through the audits, department staff identified barriers to access such as parking, playgrounds and sports courts that are not accessible to those differently abled. Thereafter, a schedule was drafted with specific priorities to remove those barriers.
“Anything that we have in the city, we need to make sure they’re accessible,” Aken said.
He added that the city is communicating and receiving feedback from the community and council and they are starting to prioritize on how to start fixing barriers. Over the next 9-12, years the city will start making some changes.
With some community feedback gathered by the city, staff have dedicated themselves to prioritizing access to three more tennis courts, three picnic areas/shelters, five more playgrounds and six ball fields, along with additional improvements to overall access of parks.
Community feedback indicated that barriers to access affect those parks that have the most visitors such as the beach at Idlywood Beach Park and the barns at Farrel-McWhirter Park. Feedback also suggested that improving parking, accessible routes, restrooms and trails are key concerns.
“The goal is to make [Redmond’s parks and trails] 100 percent accessible,” Aken said. “We want to make sure everyone has access to parks and facilities we have.”
The community is encouraged to take the poll online to further analyze and determine other barriers. Come next year, the department will pick feedback from a second community engagement meeting.
For more information and to take the poll, visit www.redmond.gov/ParksADA. The community can also reach the ADA customer service center at 425-556-2900, or contact Aken at 425-556-2328.