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Town: Handicapped Accessible Playground is Too Expensive, For Now

Head of Southold Town Department of Public Works says he’s over his head in attempting to make Tasker Park handicapped accessible, despite donation.

Building a handicapped accessible playground at in Peconic is something Jim McMahon, head of Department of Public Works, has been wanting to do for some time – since no wheelchair-friendly playgrounds currently exist on town property.

But despite an offer of financial assistance from Southold IGA owner Charles Reichert, the town cannot afford this type of project at this time, McMahon told the Town Board during Tuesday’s work session at Town Hall.

“The expense really isn’t in the playground itself – it’s the surface material that needs to be put down to make everything wheelchair accessible,” he said. “A swing set might be $5,000 but add the surface material and you’re looking at about $15,000.”

McMahon’s initial plans for a handicapped accessible playground at Tasker, something that he said would be a combination of something new and a conversion of equipment that is already there, would cost the town about $100,000 — too much, given the $20,000 offered from Reichert combined with park and recreation reserves the town could pull, McMahon said.

“I’m not avoiding the project but this is something that seems impossible for us to put together right now,” he said.

Southold Town’s Parks and Recreation Department works with a steering committee that has been analyzing the needs of handicapped children in town. They’re been trying to come up with ways that children of all types can enjoy a playground setting together, McMahon said.

At work session, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell recommended that McMahon focus on the money that is offered in donations and scale back plans at Tasker Park for now.

“We can always add on to it depending on how much is available in donations,” Russell said.

“The good thing is that we at least have a game plan now,” McMahon added.

Dr.Russ L'HommeDieu, DPT August 01, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Substantial grants are available from the Snapple corp. for playgrounds. Southampton town recently got a substantial one. Check it out . . . http://kaboom.org/
GLENN August 02, 2012 at 08:39 PM
WHAT ABOUT LOTTO MONEY.Hold a fund raiser.
Eva June Roberts-Vazquez October 02, 2012 at 02:30 PM
It's great to see some interest in creating an accessible playground. Aside from cost factors for this playground, there are ways to make town recreation programs inclusive. I am a Riverhead Resident, and years ago I attended a meeting at Riverhead Town Hall where parents expressed concerns about their adult children feeling excluded from the recreational offerings. At that meeting a rep from the Recreation Department spoke of a separate event for people with developmental disabilities. I believe this may now be a regular event in Riverhead. I brought up that what is both needed and legislated is to have the general recreational activities to be more inclusive. It's ok to have a separate event, but only as an option, and not only as the only option. It was said at the time that these types of changes would come in the future. I'm not aware of changes to the general programs which make them more inclusive. I believe when town recreational activities are planned they can and should be planned to be inclusive. I think this is important for all town residents to be included. One doesn't need to have a significant disability to not be able to take part in town recreation activities. When activities are run on a competitive basis this means many town residents will be excluded.When so many of usare overweight, obese, and out of shape, I'd say the time is right for more inclusive recreational programs where the activities are modified to be inclusive rather than competitive.

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