Students Fights To Get Handicap Access On Garland Playgrounds

None of Garland's 42 playgrounds have wheelchair ramps

By Tammy Mutasa
|  Thursday, Feb 16, 2012  |  Updated 7:29 PM CDT
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10-year-old Allison Lewis wants Garland to make more playgrounds accessible to handicapped children.

Tammy Mutasa, Garland Reporter

10-year-old Allison Lewis wants Garland to make more playgrounds accessible to handicapped children.

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A  10-year-old Garland girl wants her city to make city playgrounds more accessible to students with disabilities, and she took her fight to the city council.

Allison Lewis has acute autism and is considered a special needs student. She noticed none of the city’s 42 playgrounds had wheel chair ramps and one only had rubber flooring.

"My friends in wheelchairs can't play on them, and it's not fair to them, or me because they're not having any fun at all," said Lewis.

Lewis decided to address Garland’s city council and challenged them to change playground access.

"I don’t want to play on a playground where my friends can’t play because it’s just not right," said  Lewis.

The city has planned for upgrades in their capital improvements budget this year, and the first park to get better handicap access is Central Park. The city's main park will get a $250,000 face-lift that includes handicap upgrades.

The city points out that while upgrades are on the way, the city's playgrounds are already compliant with State of Texas law and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"If you do not see a ramp, I think there is a thought that it's not accessible," said Ann McGinnes from the City of Garland Parks and Recreation. "Because ramps are one method of access to a playground, you have transfer platforms and then you have play activities at ground level."

Allison’s granddad said he's just happy to see his granddaughter sticking up for her friends.

"It makes me proud of her because she took something that was special to her own heart and went and followed it through," said Sakeeta Ehlenfeldt.

"I would like to do this for other special needs kids around the world and I if I can," said Lewis.

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