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Resident takes complaint to state about access for disabled at Alameda Park

Butler Eagle File Photo

A Butler City resident told the county commissioners Wednesday that she complained to the state attorney general’s office about how people are unable to access the dog park and other facilities at Alameda Park during the winter.

Rita Lane said county policies and practices are preventing disabled people from using Jade’s Dog Park and other facilities during four months over the winter.

She said she loves going to the county park, but four gates prohibit people with disabilities from reaching facilities, and she contacted four state agencies, including the attorney general’s office, about park access during winter months.

People who rely on wheelchairs for mobility can’t get around the gates, and it is difficult for people without disabilities to get around the gates, she said.

County officials didn’t respond to Lane, who spoke during the public comment period at the end of the commissioners’ meeting, but answered questions about the matter after the meeting.

Solicitor Wil White said the attorney general’s office has been in contact with the county about the complaint, and he has “no reason to believe these complaints will be acted on.”

He said the commissioners as well as the parks and recreation advisory board are looking into winter access at the park, and he is confident the situation will be resolved.

Both roads into the park have always been closed in the winter because those roads do not receive winter maintenance, and the county doesn’t want people to slip, fall and get injured due to icy roads, White said.

The park is open over the winter, but the roads are closed, he said. People walk around the gates to enter the park, but vehicles can’t be driven around the gates, he said.

He said he has received complaints from people who slipped and fell while trying to enter the dog park in the winter. In response, the dog park was closed in early January. The dog park is scheduled to reopen March 30.

Leslie Osche, commissioners chairwoman, said opening the dog park but leaving the rest of the park closed could be viewed as denying access to disabled people.

She said there would be a significant cost to maintaining the park roads to keep them open during the winter, but she is also confident that a resolution will be reached.

“I believe we will find a solution to the matter,” Osche said.

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