Chris Lazaro/Community News

By CHRISTOPHER LAZARO, UT Community News Reporter

Eagle Rock — More than 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a 4-year-old Eagle Rock girl can’t play in her neighborhood park because it isn’t ADA compliant.

“We can’t push her wheelchair onto the sand in the playground area, let alone onto any playground equipment. She can’t swing on the swings,” wrote Lara Kislinger to the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council.  “The paths into the park are not safe for a wheelchair. She will always needs diapers, but we cannot bring her wheelchair into the bathroom [because it doesn’t fit]. Neighborhood, school and family events are often held there, and our younger daughter cannot participate.”

Weighing the letter and other complaints over the years, the neighborhood council unanimously voted this month to support a request to make the Eagle Rock Recreation Center and park ADA compliant. Now, it’s in the hands of the city of Los Angeles’ leaders.

“The restrooms are the biggest issue that we face right now in terms of ADA compliance, one which is broken and in disarray for most the year,” said Cyndi Otteson, a former neighborhood council member, during her presentation before the vote. “The main bathroom has one stall for a public-facing entrance. The stalls are very narrow and difficult for any individual, let alone a person that has specific needs due to wheelchairs.”

The neighborhood council planned to send a letter about the resolution it passed to Michael Shull, general manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks, and 14th District Councilmember José Huizar.

“The city of Los Angeles is open to ADA liability for inattention these issues,” according to a draft of the letter. The council requested the funding needed to make ADA-related and other improvements, including repairing or replacing fencing, repaving sidewalks, building shade structures in light of summer temperatures of up to 109 degrees, and creating a master plan, among other things.

In 2017, Eagle Rock residents asked for similar upgrades, but nothing seemed to have materialized, according to a KCET story of more than one year ago.

Some residents point to the upcoming new dog park at the rec center as evidence that the city should be able to make the rec center and park ADA compliant.

UT Community News, produced by Cal State L.A. journalism students, covers public issues on the Eastside and South L.A.

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