Montgomery Parks COVID-19 Information
Updated March 28: Be Smart, Do Your Part. Prior to visiting any of our parks, we ask that you visit Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) has closed all MontgomeryParks.org/COVID-19 for additional information and answers to frequently asked questions. indoor park facilities to the public. The department has cancelled all programming, classes, and events taking place in parks and at park facilities through April 30. If looking to visit a Montgomery Parks trail please view our new Montgomery Parks Trailheads with Parking Map.
M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks & Planning are committed to uphold the integrity of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by delivering appropriate and reasonable inclusive services, modifications, and physical accessibility to ensure social equality and inclusion of all citizens.
Individuals will be afforded respect and dignity while engaging in leisure pursuits to enhance their quality of life in a clean, safe and accessible setting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
The ADA is a civil rights law. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by 89,004 state and local governments (including Montgomery County) and 7,000,000 businesses and non-profits. Other federal laws preceded the ADA and have helped set precedents for the ADA. The 1968 Architectural Barriers Act applies to federal sites and facilities. Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act applies to states, local governments, businesses and nonprofits that receive federal funding. Many states, including Maryland, have state laws similar to the ADA.
Title II of the ADA applies to state and local government. Title II includes regulations that implement the non-discrimination requirements of the law. Additionally, title II requires Montgomery County to adhere to the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which set minimum requirements for newly designed or altered government buildings and sites. The Title II regulations and the Standards must be used together in order to provide accessible programs and services.
Why are Montgomery Parks and Montgomery County embarking on this effort?
The revised ADA regulations that took effect in March 2012 incorporate standards for parks and recreation facilities that were not previously available – including standards for fitness, boating and fishing, playgrounds, sports fields and courts, shooting ranges, golf, miniature golf and more. These new standards prompted many local governments to evaluate their parks and recreation facilities.
Montgomery Parks and the County government began efforts to address accessibility in August 2011, at which time they signed a six-year Settlement Agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to identify and remediate ADA deficits. The settlement agreement was in response to a DOJ survey of 110 buildings and park sites around the country. As part of our efforts to address ADA deficits and accessibility, Montgomery Parks is also conducting public outreach, working to modify communications, improving signage, reviewing policies and providing additional access and inclusion training for its employees.
What is the current status of accessibility at Montgomery County parks and recreation facilities?
Some Montgomery Parks’ facilities, programs and parks are accessible and/or offer accessible amenities, including East Norbeck Local Park, Takoma-Piney Branch Local Park, Darnestown Square Heritage Park, and Woodstock Equestrian Park.In accordance with the Settlement Agreement with the DOJ, Montgomery Parks is evaluating its entire parks system over a five year period – assessing approximately 20% per year. The first 20% were surveyed in 2012. By August 2014, 90% of parks and facilities in Montgomery Parks’ system have been evaluated
What is the anticipated time frame for conducting the work and how much will it cost?
Montgomery Parks will continue evaluating their entire park system through 2016. While the evaluation process is ongoing, Montgomery Parks will continue efforts to make new parks and those parks that undergo renovations ADA compliant. Once the evaluations are complete Montgomery Parks will develop a multi-year plan for making improvements. The input received from public meetings and outreach will impact how Montgomery Parks prioritizes their efforts, and along with the evaluation results, will be used to develop a timeframe for completing the work needed.
Although a final cost estimate will not be available until after the audits are complete, the cost estimate for the parks that were audited through August of 2014 (which represents 90% of Montgomery Parks’ system) is approximately $40 million. We do not have an estimate for costs associated with updating the entire system.
How will you determine which improvements to do first?
The public outreach process will have a significant impact on prioritizing the accessibility improvements needed. Other factors that will determine what improvements are prioritized include ensuring that accessible facilities are distributed fairly throughout the County, population density, other Capital Improvements Projects, proximity to public transportation, age of existing facilities, how the site and facility is typically used, and other factors including funding sources.
What types of changes will be made for parks, programs and facilities to be considered ADA compliant?
Potential changes to parks and facilities may include adding walkways and ramps at athletic fields, installing accessible parking spaces, and adjusting drinking fountains, grills and picnic tables for accessibility. Other examples of potential changes include accessibility improvements to playgrounds, boating facilities, skate parks, dog parks and historic sites.
What are the next steps in this process?
We will continue public outreach efforts through 2016. Outreach efforts will include additional public meetings and soliciting input through our website and phone line. The survey of the entire system will be complete in 2016. As we make progress on the survey process, we will continue efforts to make new parks and those parks that are under renovation ADA compliant. Once the survey process is complete in 2016, we will finalize a plan for the work that remains.
How can the public provide input, ask questions or get involved with your efforts?
The public is encouraged to visit www.MontgomeryParks.org/ada which will be regularly updated with information about our efforts and upcoming public meetings on this topic. You can also provide input via email at adacompliance@MontgomeryParks.org or by phone at 301-650-2885.
What are some existing ADA compliant parks and facilities?
Montgomery Parks has initiated accessibility improvements to a number of our parks including park renovations. These improvements range from parking repaving to new signage to flatter walkways to park retrofits and may vary depending on the facilities, terrain, park usage, among other factors. All new renovations and repairs to our existing facilities are performed in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Visit our page regarding ADA Accessible Parks & Facilities for more information about recently completed and upcoming projects related to accessibility.