Audit: Many New York state parks need accessibility improvements
A new report by the state comptroller found changes are needed to improve accessibility for people with disabilities at state parks across New York.
Auditors reviewed 49 parks from January 2018 through October 2022 and found 62% of parks had issues, like inaccessible entrances and restrooms.
“You got into a handicapped stall and the hand soap is like sky high,” says Nadia Holubnyczyj-Ortiz, of Floral Park. “And it’s a silly thing, but it’s hygiene.”
They also found issues such as mislabeled parking spots and uneven access routes.
“We found over 60% of amenities could be improved at the 40 parks statewide and historic sites that we looked at and that’s a pretty big number,” says Mary Mueller, press secretary for the state comptroller.
On Long Island, auditors inspected Bethpage State Park, Caleb Smith State Park, Hempstead Lake State Park and Jones Beach State Park.
Out of the 191 amenities reviewed at the state parks on Long Island, officials identified 121 “potential improvement areas.”
The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said, “Many of its over 5,000 facilities predate the implementation of the current 2010 ADA standards for accessible design…Nevertheless, the OPRHP remains committed to providing meaningful program access to individuals with disabilities, including updating its aging infrastructure.”
The state comptroller’s office says the OPRHP has 180 days to come up with a plan on how they can meet the recommendations in the audit.