Accessibility

STAR Center exterior with people leaving and person being pushed in wheelchair

Accessibility

Metro Parks Tacoma strives to create an atmosphere of accessibility for our diverse community.

If you have comments and suggestions to help us meet your expectations, please call Marty Stump, (253) 305-1078 or email inclusion@tacomaparks.com.

Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of a public entity´s facilities where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.

People of all abilities are invited to consider registering for any recreational program we have to offer provided minimum eligibility requirements are met.

To request an accommodation please allow 10 business days prior to the start of the course.

Accommodation Request Form

Questions?

For More Info About Accommodations or visit our Customer Service page.
(253) 404-3950 / TTY 759-9286

For General Inquiries
(253) 305-1022 / TTY 759-9286

ADA Coordinator, Marty Stump
(253) 305-1078 / TTY 759-9286

More Information

Our Commitment to Accessibility & Inclusion

Metro Parks Tacoma strives to provide accessible, affordable, accommodating and welcoming parks, services and programs to the diverse residents and visitors to the Park District. Our inclusion policy strives to ensure that our services meet the needs of all District residents and regional customers regardless of age, ability, race, ethnicity and income level.

Facilities

Over 70 of our facilities have transition plans that Metro Parks Tacoma has been actively working to resolve through capital bond improvements and maintenance work orders. The transition plan summary is available for public review and comment.

Staff Training

We have trained all of our staff members on the requirements and opportunities of the Americans with Disabilities Act with special emphasis on:

  1. Capital program design and implementation
  2. Program accommodations
  3. Alternative communication formats
  4. Board meeting accessibility & room design
  5. Special event accessibility
  6. Signage standards
  7. Public lobby design & accommodation
  8. Picnic facility accessibility information

Agency Compliance Manual

We have adopted an Agency Compliance Manual to reiterate Metro Parks Tacoma’s standards, and communicate the expectation for inclusion and accessibility throughout the district’s programs and facilities. This manual is a key element of our strategy to make inclusion and accessibility standard components of program and facility decisions.

Accommodation Compliance Manual

Service Animals

Service Animals

Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

Exceptions

A public entity may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it; or the animal is not housebroken.

If a public entity properly excludes a service animal under § 35.136(b), it shall give the individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

Animal under handler’s control

A service animal shall be under the control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).

Care or supervision

A public entity is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.

Inquiries

A public entity shall not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability, but may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal. A public entity may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. A public entity shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Generally, a public entity may not make these inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person’s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).

Surcharges

A public entity shall not ask or require an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees, or to comply with other requirements generally not applicable to people without pets. If a public entity normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.

Miniature horses

A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.

Assessment factors. In determining whether reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures can be made to allow a miniature horse into a specific facility, a public entity shall consider the type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features; whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse; whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and whether the miniature horse’s presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation.

Power-Driven Mobility Devices

Power-Driven Mobility Devices

Use of wheelchairs and manually-powered mobility aids

A public entity shall permit individuals with mobility disabilities to use wheelchairs and manually-powered mobility aids, such as walkers, crutches, canes, braces, or other similar devices designed for use by individuals with mobility disabilities in any areas open to pedestrian use.

Wheelchair means a manually-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability for the main purpose of indoor or of both indoor and outdoor locomotion. This definition does not apply to Federal wilderness areas; wheelchairs in such areas are defined in section 508(c)(2) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12207(c)(2).

Inquiry about disability

A public entity shall not ask an individual using a wheelchair or other power-driven mobility device questions about the nature and extent of the individual’s disability.

Use of other power-driven mobility devices

A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of other power-driven mobility devices by individuals with mobility disabilities, unless the public entity can demonstrate that the class of other power-driven mobility devices cannot be operated in accordance with legitimate safety requirements that the public entity has adopted pursuant to § 35.130(h).

Other power-driven mobility device means any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines–whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities–that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, including golf cars, electronic personal assistance mobility devices (EPAMDs), such as the Segway® PT, or any mobility device designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes, but that is not a wheelchair within the meaning of this section. This definition does not apply to Federal wilderness areas; wheelchairs in such areas are defined in section 508(c)(2) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12207(c)(2).

Assessment factors: In determining whether a particular other power-driven mobility device can be allowed in a specific facility as a reasonable modification under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, a public entity shall consider the type, size, weight, dimensions, and speed of the device; the facility’s volume of pedestrian traffic (which may vary at different times of the day, week, month, or year); the facility’s design and operational characteristics (e.g., whether its service, program, or activity is conducted indoors, its square footage, the density and placement of stationary devices, and the availability of storage for the device, if requested by the user); whether legitimate safety requirements can be established to permit the safe operation of the other power-driven mobility device in the specific facility; and whether the use of the other power-driven mobility device creates a substantial risk of serious harm to the immediate environment or natural or cultural resources, or poses a conflict with Federal land management laws and regulations.

Inquiry into use of other power-driven mobility device: A public entity may ask a person using an other power-driven mobility device to provide a credible assurance that the mobility device is required because of the person’s disability. A public entity that permits the use of an other power-driven mobility device by an individual with a mobility disability shall accept the presentation of a valid, State-issued, disability parking placard or card, or other State-issued proof of disability, as a credible assurance that the use of the other power-driven mobility device is for the individual’s mobility disability. In lieu of a valid, State-issued disability parking placard or card, or State-issued proof of disability, a public entity shall accept as a credible assurance a verbal representation, not contradicted by observable fact, that the other power-driven mobility device is being used for a mobility disability. A “valid” disability placard or card is one that is presented by the individual to whom it was issued and is otherwise in compliance with the State of issuance’s requirements for disability placards or cards.

Segways

Given the above requirement that other power-driven mobility devices meet legitimate safety standards, Metro Parks Tacoma does not recognize Segways as an appropriate devise for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Northwest Trek for the following reasons:

  1. The slope of the natural terrain, which exceeds 5% in many areas.
  2. The congestion of foot traffic on the shared paths of the facility.
  3. The manufacturers recommendation for helmet and protective equipment for riders, much like bicycles, skateboards and rollerblades.
  4. The unrealistic administrative burden of identifying FDA approval or speed, weight and safety features of each device upon entry, including any form of assessment of rider abilities; or managing pedestrian traffic throughout the facility for separated movement.

Assistive Listening System

Assistive Listening System

Available for meetings held in the Board Room at Metro Parks Tacoma headquarters, 4702 S. 19th Street.

No matter where people in need of hearing assistance sit, the program audio routed through our Gentner ALS transmitter comes directly to their ears when they wear one of our Gentner ALS receivers.