Ability inclusion is something that not a lot of non-disabled people think about on a daily basis. The City of Hoover is working to change that through several new and improved initiatives to be as all-inclusive as possible.
I’ll be honest, I never really thought a lot about ability inclusion until a family member became disabled. Now, I think about it every time I walk into a building, run on a sidewalk and use a public restroom.
How it started
The City of Hoover has helped lead the local charge to include disabled people in the city planning and policy conversation. While no city is perfect, Hoover is making strides to become a more accessible, inclusive place for all residents.
“We started this process on day one when I came into office. It was something that I talked about, that we wanted our city hall to be more reflective of our community.
As we moved along, the next opportunity we saw was with the playground and how we could reach out to people with disabilities. Afterwards, we talked further about how we can incorporate people with various disabilities into our workforce.”Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato
What’s happening now
The Explore Playground and Splash Pad in Hoover is the biggest ability inclusion project the city has undertaken to date. The 15,000 square foot playground and 7,000 square foot splash pad is designed to accomodate children of all physical and mental abilities. It allows kids to play side-by-side regardless of ability.
But the playground isn’t the only ability inclusive project happening in Hoover. Check out other projects the city is working on to make Hoover more accessible.
- Adult changing stations in city facilities
- Mental disability training for employees at city facilities
- More accessible sidewalks for people living in assisted housing
- Continuing the current drive-up services at City Hall
All of these projects will help people with mental and physical disabilities gain increased access to all parts of the Hoover community. Many of these projects will focus on assisting disabled adults.
“Many people just think about kids with disabilities in terms of creating more inclusive spaces, but parents were telling us they planned their vacations around cities that had parks that they could take their child to that didn’t have a disability and actually play.”Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato
The Hoover community has been in full support of the ongoing ability-inclusion projects. People have called in to reinforce the need for projects like adult changing rooms, additional ramps and of course the all-inclusive playground.
“Our community is a very caring community, they understand these needs. It’s a very positive thing for the Hoover community to think like this and to raise these types of ideas. We’re a diverse community, and we are inviting to everyone.”Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato
For more information about ability inclusive places in the Birmingham area, check out these Bham Now stories:
- 18 wheelchair accessible parks and trails in and around Birmingham
- Know someone with a disability in Birmingham? Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services is here to help.