Harrisonburg Parks Becoming More Handicap Friendly

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Construction happening at several parks in Harrisonburg as city leaders work to make they city's parks more handicap friendly.

Both Morrison and Westover Park currently have some construction going on to make them more handicap accessible. Both projects are made possible by federal grants.

It is another summer day for Tyler Rich, spending his days off from school in the park, reading his favorite book. He depends on a wheelchair or walker to help get him around and an obstacle sometimes adds an extra step to his day.

"It's stuff that people don't necessarily think about. When I go somewhere, I typically have to get there 20 minutes early to scope out," said Rich.

Growing up, he said going to the playground was difficult, especially trying to keep up with his friends.

Now, Harrisonburg is working to make the playgrounds more inclusive for people like Rich.

Some changes you will see around the park include adding sidewalks that connect parking lots to the playgrounds, adding water fountains lower to the ground and even adding more chair lifts at local pools.

Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Director Lee Foerster said this has been a goal for years and hopes it will make a difference for families.

"It's certainly very heartwarming and it's also fair. We need to make sure all citizens have access to our facilities and this is part of that," said Foerster.

In the future, Foerster hopes to continue improving the local parks as more money becomes more available.

Now, Rich looks forward to a smooth ride, being able to come back to the park with a good book, and some great friends.

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