Independent        Holmdel, NJ        January 31, 2007

Park's trails needed for county's disabled

Your Jan. 26 article reported that Holmdel Township Committee members called the new trails at Holmdel Park "offensive." I assure them that it is more offensive to be a person with a disability who is being discriminated against by inaccessible parks!

Freeholder Lillian Burry is accurate that the changes were made to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to allow wheelchair access. I was one of the citizens who brought the lawsuit. She is wrong in saying about lawsuits, "We're a very large target. For one reason or another, we always seem to get it."

This civil rights lawsuit against Monmouth County was filed only after many years of trying to encourage the county to correct discriminatory accessibility violations throughout the county. For example, the new, expensive agriculture building has dangerous, illegal built-up curb ramps in the accessible parking places. We notified all parties - including the engineer - while the building was still being built that the ramps were not compliant. We provided confirmation from the Access Board and U.S. Department of Justice. We were ignored. The ramps still violate the ADA.

Larry Fink noted that the paths are wider than a wheelchair. Of course they are - as per the ADA - to allow wheelchairs (and bikes, etc.) that meet on the trail to pass. I have been told that the medical office of the councilman who calls the new accessible paths "offensive" is not compliant with the ADA. How ironic, sad, "offensive," and noncompliant that is for his patients, 16 years after the ADA passed.

Carolyn Schwebel

Leonardo section of Middletown