Saturday, December 25, 2010

Another victory for inclusion!

Kansas City was investigated earlier this year by the U.S. Justice Department over the lack of access for the disabled.

The Justice Department was in town in October conducting facility audits to determine whether the city was in compliance with federal rules and regulations. The process took about one week.

Mark Bowland, community services manager for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, said the department was already beginning to work to make the disabled community feel welcome.

“As a result of the investigation, we did a lot of training with staff and a lot of facility assessment ourselves,” Bowland said. “A lot of that work only now is starting to pay off.”

As a result of that work, Bowland received the Excellence in Inclusion Award from the National Institute on Recreation Inclusion. He received the distinction at the institute’s 11th annual meeting in November in Schaumburg, Ill.

“There’s a litany of things that we’ve done over the last couple of years that contributed to us winning the award,” Bowland said. “I’m about excited as I can be to know that someone recognized our efforts to make sure that persons with disabilities were being acknowledged. People are starting to get access to things that they had not been given prior to.”

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