West Sacramento losing Little League Field

West Sacramento losing Little League Field because they are not ADA Compliant

 

West Sacramento Little League must look for a new home ground by the next season. Spring of 2018 is all the players have got and they can train at Memorial Park for now, but the field cannot host the Little League anymore because it is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is a bittersweet moment for everyone associated with the league and all residents of West Sacramento. Memorial Park has hosted the league for almost five decades now. It is nostalgic for thousands and many are uncertain if there is a fitting substitute available. Those who have not been able to access the park due to lack of amenities in compliance with ADA are obviously expecting a much more convenient infrastructure.

 

Public infrastructure, especially playing fields and parks, theatres and convention centers or performing arts venues should be ADA compliant. Almost twenty percent or one fifth of the American populace has some kind of disability. Many have severe disabilities and although there is an extensive list of what constitutes as a disability, still there is no denying the fact that everyone should have equal and convenient access to all public places. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits any type of discrimination on the basis of a disability. It is not very different from the essence of the Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion and national origin among others.

 

The quintessential issue is not with ADA or the various norms that one must follow to be in compliance. The problem lies in the building codes and the fact that a substantial part of all public infrastructures predates the act. Memorial Park was built many years before ADA was legislated. Even today, there are counties, districts, cities and towns where building codes are not fully in accordance with ADA regulations. California brought in some significant changes in 2010, when it attempted to endorse several of the federal guidelines to make their public spaces ADA compliant. It was then that Memorial Park came under scrutiny for noncompliance. After a long legal battle spanning almost eight years and innumerable contemplations, it is finally lucid that West Sacramento Little League will lose its home.

 

This is really a sad development for players, both current and former, coaches and team managements as well as for the local community that has treasured the playing field for most of their life. ADA compliance demands the playing field to be reconstructed. Nothing can remain as it is. ADA compliance will require a complete overhaul of everything from dugouts to restrooms, seating arrangements to service counters, access to the park and even layouts of the stadium. There should be a proportionate number of seats for the disabled, there should be enough space for wheelchair access and there must be adequate handrails for support, the access to the seats and the playing field itself would also have to be redesigned. It is unclear if West Sacramento Little League will return to Memorial Park sometime in the future, just as it is uncertain where they will be moved to.

 

 

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