2012-07-13 / Top Stories

Locals Seek ADA Compliant Swings

By Howard Schwach

Rockaway residents Raquel and Valentina Priolo love to go to the playground with their family, but have found that the playgrounds around the peninsula are not very friendly to those with physical disabilities, as they have.

The children and their mother love the children’s park at the eastern end of Riis Park, where Rockaway Beach Boulevard runs into the federal park.

But there were no swing sets that comply with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, which surprised the Priolo family since Riis Park is part of a federal park.

In order to get ADA compliant gym equipment, their parents turned to Congressman Bob Turner, a Breezy

Point man who represents

Rockaway in the House of

Representatives.

Even with Congressman

Turner’s help, however, the kids got turned down flat – at least for this summer. Officials say the don’t have the money right now.

“We are proud to serve the widest audience possible at all of our facilities at Gateway National Recreation Area and this includes consideration for age, race, gender, and physical/mental abilities,” said Superintendent Linda Canzanelli in a June 29 letter to Turner. “The playground equipment at Riis Park has served the community for many years, but we are happy to research the potential for including ADA compliant swings into the current configuration.”

She added, however, that the cost of the new equipment and the time to find the right fit preclude any action this summer.

“The cost of the project is expected to be approximately $1300,” she said. “With a maintenance backlog at the Jamaica Bay Unit, funding renovation and recreational facilities such as playgrounds is difficult. We hope to find the money in our current budget, but failing that, we will include the purchase of the equipment in our next fiscal year, beginning in October.”

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