The City of Neenah, Wisconsin, is committed to creating and prioritizing equal accessibility for all residents and guests in their community. As such, they have taken steps to address potential barriers to accessibility, both for indoor public facilities as well as within their park and recreation system.
In 2018, Neenah hired MSA to conduct an ADA Audit and evaluate 25 public park properties and nine public buildings to assess compliance under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). MSA’s team of architects and landscape architects conducted audits of playgrounds, sports fields, parking lots, park buildings and public building interiors – identifying deficiencies and recommending steps to corrective action.
The audit was conducted based on ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and aided by the use of a custom GIS asset management app that helped auditors streamline data collection and easily transfer information gathered into a detailed, actionable, implementable plan. Each review contained a map of the park and associated amenities or building layout, with photos of the observed deficiency, description of the deficiency and citation of the applicable ADA standard.
Next, the MSA team designed a Transition Plan for the community. The ADA requires transition plans be developed for local governments with 50 or more employees. The document is a comprehensive planning piece which denotes priorities, responsible parties and timelines for ADA compliance in all public facilities. While not required by ADA Title II, the Transition Plan created for Neenah also identified cost estimates for each correct measure.
The City of Neenah and MSA completed the ADA Audit and Transition Plan in early 2019 and is working on fitting modification of observed deficiencies into its Capital Planning and maintenance budgets. Communities such as Neenah that are choosing to make public and park amenities inclusive, accessible, and interactive are welcoming residents and guests of all ages and abilities to connect—and play—in real and memorable ways.