VALPARAISO | The campaign to get playground equipment for handicapped children into Valparaiso's parks is getting some help from members of the city's Mayoral Advisory Council on Disability.
Leslie Nuss Bamesberger and a group called One for Everyone are raising money to buy an Omnispin Spinner for Bicentennial Park's playground, which will get new equipment in April. The group also wants to replace the mulch planned for the area around the equipment with a rubberized flooring or tiles.
Bamesberger told the advisory council Wednesday it will cost about $30,000 to provide a piece of handicapped accessible equipment and the rubberized surface for each playground. The city plans to put the flooring around the apparatus at the renovated ValPlayso when that playground is replaced in the fall.
While the mulch is acceptable under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards, Bamesberger said it is unsuitable for someone in a wheelchair or with a cane or walker.
"That's the silver," she said of mulch. "We're going for the gold."
Council member Bruce Lindner warned putting the equipment and the surface in one park could raise complaints about why it isn't being done in the other parks.
"Let me talk to the person who complains," Bamesberger said. "If anyone complains, I can ask them to help raise money for all the parks. We're doing the best we can. We can't afford to do them all at once."
Council member Roger Weitgenant said the city should be planning for the equipment and the flooring from the beginning of each park project rather than it being an afterthought.
Bamesberger said ValPlayso will be the first playground that is totally accessible to the handicapped, which she said is one more than most communities have.