New Accessible Viewing Area at Christmas Parade a Big Success!
On December 7th the City of Lakeland hosted the 37th annual Christmas Parade. This year there was a new feature; an Accessible area for individuals with wheelchairs, and their families. The Accessible area was located at the corner of Rose St. and Main St. next to the Fire Station. Prior to the event, the location was added to the parade route map, and posted on the City website.
The Accessible area included designated parking, a designated viewing location, and a porta-toilet. The area was added due to feedback from the City’s Lakeland Alliance for Accessibility and other members of the community, and will be continued annually. As the City works to enhance access for the Christmas Parade, new locations may be chosen in the future, so checking the parade route map each year is advised.
A couple of days before this years’ event, the designated viewing area was cordoned off by Traffic Operations. The City would like to thank citizens and visitors for honoring the posted signs at this area, by not placing folding chairs there. This made it easier for individuals with wheelchairs, and their families, to use the location.
The City created additional Accessible parking spaces in the Rose St. lot for the parade, and 25 vehicles with the appropriate parking permits used the location. The designated viewing area was used by 10 individuals with wheelchairs and related mobility devices, who were accompianied by their families.
During the evening, City staff were on hand to monitor the Accessible viewing area and provide assistance as needed to get to the location. After the parade, City staff shared that is was very gratifying that many of the individuals, using the Accessible area, offered their thanks to the City for creating this new feature.
The City would appreciate additional feedback about the new Accessible feature of the parade, and will use suggestions to plan for next year. Among the suggestions already received were that there be more Accessible parking and a larger viewing area for next year. Please send your suggestions and comments to the ADA Coordinator Jenny Sykes.
We hope you enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!