Vancouver Parks and Recreation is committed to providing parks, trails and recreational facilities for people of all abilities. We're dedicated to meeting the standards set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 provides civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, public accommodations, governmental services and communications. The City has Americans with Disabilities Act transition plans and program coordinators.
All parks and recreation facilities built after 1992 have been designed to meet the federal accessibility standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act at the time of construction. Accessibility barriers at our older facilities and within our programs are included in the Department's Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan. This plan also includes estimated time frames for completion and estimated costs for the accessibility improvements it identifies.
The compliance of our recreational facilities and buildings, including Firstenburg Community Center, Marshall Community Center, and the Vancouver Tennis Center are covered in the City of Vancouver's Transition Plan. The City of Vancouver's Access to Recreation and Inclusion Program provides both integrated and separate classes, camps and programs for people with physical and mental disabilities.
Parks, Trails and Open Spaces
Vancouver Parks and Recreation currently oversees over 450 acres of parks, trails, sports fields and open space. Some of these areas are meant to preserve the natural topography and character of the specific properties, and will not comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. However, the department continually strives to provide a diverse experience for all users. From the downtown urban park experience at Esther Short Park to the tranquil open space at Beaver Marsh, we are identifying how to best serve citizens of all abilities.
Many of our parks and trails systems were developed before 1992, so may not be compliant with current Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The Transition Plan was created to identify current barriers to access and potential opportunities for upgrading facilities. From 2005 through 2009, staff worked to survey all parks and trails to identify all of the current barriers. Not all park features need to be compliant, but the department must provide equal access to unique park experiences.
Vancouver Parks and Recreation developed its first Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan in 2007. The plan was then updated in early 2012.
The biggest challenge with the Vancouver Parks and Recreation Transition Plan is the number of upgrades needed and the limited funding available to make these upgrades. Staff continually looks for ways to make upgrades as part of other maintenance or construction projects and applies for a variety of grants. The funding mechanisms used for accessibility improvements at parks and recreation facilities come from many sources, including:
- Real Estate Excise Tax (REET): Can be used for upgrades at parks and recreation facilities.
- Community Development Block grants (CDBG): 30% of these funds are dedicated to accessibility improvement projects.
- Neighborhood Action Plan grants (NAP): Neighbors can apply for these small grants for features that are identified in their Neighborhood Action Plan. Typically these improvements include a curb cut to a path, a new accessible bench, new accessible picnic table, etc. Many times, these grants are matched with neighborhood association funds.
- Donations: In some parks, generous donors have contributed money to assist with a park improvement project. The donations go through the Parks Foundation of Clark County to ensure that the funds are used for the donor-specified project.
Filing a Grievance
If you wish to file a formal grievance regarding the accessibility of our facilities, programs, services or activities, please contact the Americans with Disabilities Coordinator for the City of Vancouver.