Local family trying to get daughter safe access to South Hadley - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM


Local family trying to get daughter safe access to South Hadley park

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SOUTH HADLEY, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A South Hadley family recently reached out to Western Mass News over concerns about a park in town. They said it's not easy for their disabled daughter to get to the park and she can't play on the equipment.

Ansleigh McDaniel, 2, has cerebral palsy. Because of her condition, Ansleigh can't do what other children can do. She needs help with basic things like sitting up.

"Her muscle tone is very tight, so if you can imagine flexing biceps for 18 hours a day and then not being able to stop that, so all the time flexed...the whole time," said Ansleigh's father Christopher McDaniel.

With summer here, the McDaniel family wants to enjoy nearby Buttery Brook Park in South Hadley, but they say it's nearly impossible with Ansleigh's disability.

"They say the handicap swings are there, but there are no handicap swings, so she can't sit up, so she can't sit on a child swing because she'll just flop over, whichever way that she decides to go at that time.  They would need the handicap, the ADA swings - it's the full support," Chris McDaniel added.

In a statement to Western Mass News, town manager Mike Sullivan said that the park is ADA accessible, adding "While we appreciate the interest in the park to accommodate all people of different abilities, we don't have a plan in place to make any changes, but we will certainly consider them."

Sullivan explained that the park was even reviewed by the state for accessibility.

The family said there's also a problem getting to the park because of this crosswalk on Willimansett Street.

"Right now, you have to theoretically cross the street three times to get there because the crosswalk on the other side is, in my opinion, pretty dangerous to use," said Christopher McDaniel.

While there is a crosswalk across the street from Buttery Brook Park, the lines are heavily faded, making it nearly impossible for any driver to see a pedestrian waiting to cross the street.

The family is also concerned about curbing, which is not stroller or wheelchair accessible, at each side of the crosswalk.

South Hadley's Department of Public Works told the family they are looking into making improvements.

For now, the family continues to make the long trek to a park they feel they can't easily enjoy.

"She can't utilize the park at all," Christopher McDaniel said.

Funding for the crosswalk isn't available until July 1 and planning for crosswalks has been planned for a number of months.

The ramps must be designed and approved by the MassDOT.

Copyright 2015 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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