Jonathon Liedtke – ourWindsor.ca – July 5, 2013
City councilor Ron Jones announced today that $300,000 will be spent in his west end ward to increase accessibility to Patterson Park.
Patterson park will see handicap curb cuts installed on residential streets, new lighting, a picnic area equipped with barbecues and a three-metre wide walking path constructed throughout the park’s grassy area.
The funding was provided in part by a portion of Jones’ share of a $10-million fund created by Mayor Francis – approved in the previous municipal budget for road repairs and divided equally by all ten city councilors – and by a contribution by The City of Windsor Accessibility Committee.
Jones committed $260,000 to the endeavor while the Accessibility Committee provided the remaining $40,000.
“It’s going to mean … accessibility and safety,” said Jones when asked what the funding would mean for the west end. “Hopefully we can make this a safe and secure area for those who have disabilities.”
Jones hopes that the upgrades to the area will be completed by the end of September and believes that the work is “long overdue.”
Gayle Jones, the diversity and accessibility officer for the city explained that members of the accessibility committee made recommendations on what kind of improvements needed to be implemented from a technical perspective.
“It’s still difficult to get around, “said Lynn Calder, the executive director of Assisted Living. “The sidewalks are uneven, the curb cuts are uneven and they aren’t lined up [currently].”
Calder explained that the upgrades will mean that everybody with a mobility challenge will be able to “move freely throughout this community.”
When asked what other areas in the city require similar funding to help improve accessibility for those with a mobility challenge, Calder noted that all of the city’s ten wards require improvements.
“We can always do better,” said Calder. “But this is an older area of town, so it’s a larger challenge and you’re going to see the greatest impact here.”
City councilor Ed Sleiman believes that the improvements are necessary if the city continues to market itself as ‘age friendly’.
“The city had been advocating [itself] as an ‘age friendly’ city and we always try to attract seniors to boost our economy and come and live here,” said Sleiman. “If we make our city accessible, guess what, it’s going to improve all of the wards, not just one.”
“I hope that the other councilors will at least put some money into accessibility issues,” said Sleiman who had also committed funding towards accessibility in his own ward.
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.