SPRING HILL, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Hernando County mom’s petition for increased park accessibility is gaining steam, thanks in part to video of her daughter as she tries to navigate play places while using a walker to get around.
Danielle Zukoski and her daughter recently moved to Hernando from Pasco County. During a birthday party at Anderson Snow Park, she realized features that were supposed to make the park accessible didn’t extend far enough.
Her issue was specifically with a swing intended for children with varying abilities.
On change.org, Zukoski wrote, “While I am thankful for the swing, for children with special needs, was it planned that children could miraculously walk when the sidewalk ends?”
In a video posted on the petition, her daughter walks excitedly down a path toward the swing, but before she reaches the swing, she’s met with a change in the landscape. The paved path ends and she must navigate several feet of sand before reaching the swing.
Her walker immediately sticks when it hits the sand.
“She was so excited to play on the playground then quickly realized she couldn’t access it,” Zukoski wrote. “While kids are running and playing and able to access the equipment my daughter and her walker are stuck in the sand.”
She goes on to explain her 6-year-old “hates the fact that her mom has to carry her around and move her to one activity to next.”
“I know we can do better than this,” she wrote in the petition. “Our children are our future and they deserve a place to play, not just only for some children but for all.”
Zukoski’s petition asks for additional sidewalks and alternative substrates.
We reached out to Hernando County about Zukoski's concerns. Public Information Manager Virginia Singer responded with a statement saying, "All of our county parks with playground equipment, except Anderson Snow, have the certified playground mulch that meets ADA requirements. Our Parks and Recreation Department has planned for it to be installed at Anderson Snow this year and has now moved it up on the priority list. We expect it to be in within a month or so."
While Zukoski is encouraged by the county's quick response, she hopes to take it one step further. She continuing to collect donations in hopes of having a flat, soft surface installed at the playground at Anderson Snow Park, which would make it even easier for Iris and other kids with special needs to get around.