Inclusivity and Accessibility Project
The Department of Parks and Recreation has always taken great pride in providing recreation opportunities for ALL residents and visitors. In the fall of (2017), Department staff received comprehensive training from faculty and staff at the State University of New York at Cortland’s Inclusive Recreation Resource Center (IRRC) in partnership with Rochester Accessible Adventures (RAA).
The results of this training and site assessment were outlined in an “Inclusion Action Plan” which the Department has been implementing since the initial training period. To date, the Department of Parks and Recreation has made several facility modifications at the Recreation Center and Victor Municipal Park as well as providing accessible signage to the Auburn and Lehigh Valley Trails to become a more inclusive facility. In addition, the Department possesses a “Mobile Sensory Room” and several portable sensory kits to support ALL children in our recreation programs.
More recently, the Department applied for a grant through Victor-Farmington Rotary to construct an accessible seating area at the Victor Municipal Park bandshell and amphitheater. Also, the Department has applied for a grant through Senator Rich Funke and the New York State and Municipal Facilities Program for the design and construction of an Inclusive Playground for one of its parks.
The Department of Parks and Recreation works with the recreation staff at Ontario County ARC to collaborate on recreation programs, which are both specialized and inclusive. Anita O’Brien at Rochester Accessible Adventures (RAA) assists the Department in creating adaptive equipment and programming to create and encourage participation for ALL participants.
Accessible Seating Area at Victor Municipal Park Bandshell
The Department of Parks and Recreation completed the design and construction of an Accessible Seating Area at the Victor Municipal Park bandshell and amphitheater, which was identified as a priority in the 2017 “Inclusion Action Plan.” This was bolstered by a $4,250 grant from the Victor-Farmington Rotary through their Rotary District Simplified Grant Program. The project got rave reviews at the summer concert series at the park.
During the 2019 Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update project, a key recommendation identified was for the Department and the Town to continue to develop a promote Inclusivity and Accessibility. As the plan states, “The community identified an ongoing need to provide park and recreation amenities, services, and programs that offer a full range of opportunities geared towards inclusivity and accessibility. The Town should improve ADA accessibility within the park and recreation system by providing accessible, paved pathways and trails that link to recreation amenities and features within the parks and town, incorporate inclusive play elements into the existing and proposed play areas, and continue to build and develop recreation programs to include ALL members of the community.”
More recently, the Victor Central School District in partnership with Starbridge started a Together Including Every Student (T.I.E.S.) program at the district which “promotes the participation of students and young adults who have developmental disabilities in inclusive, organized extracurricular and community activities, with the support of trained student volunteers.” The program recruits and trains local peer volunteers to assist with the integration of students in these activities. For more information on the T.I.E.S. program, please contact Erin O’Obrien at Eobrien@starbridgeinc.org.