Sarasota Leisure Facilities Get Friendlier for the Handicapped


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, June 6th, 2014 – Searchers of residences in Southwest Florida who have handicapped-accessible public facilities prominent on their checklist would be well-advised to consider Sarasota homes for sale. Public accommodations in the county aren’t only complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which among other things mandates installation of handicapped-friendly facilities in public places.  Many local establishments are taking a step further to improve on this requirement.

At the Asolo Theatre, for instance, a new platform was recently installed for better accessibility and better viewing to the handicapped theater-goers. This after the administrators found that their handicapped seats’ former location was too steep and presented some difficulty for wheelchair-bound patrons to maneuver.

The new and more elevated viewing platform was accommodated at the theater’s back three rows. This section can hold up to 40 wheelchairs plus companion seating. A local foundation provided a “generous grant” to construct this new theater feature which includes hand railings that comply with the new ADA guidelines.

For easier beach visits

The same sharp attention on the special needs of the handicapped is part of the ongoing makeover of the facilities at the 40-acre Siesta Beach in Siesta Key. Already ADA-compliant, the beach facilities are being renovated under a project costing $21.5 million.

Scheduled for completion in 2015, this undertaking includes designs ensuring that beach access points are in compliance with the new ADA rules. The project also calls for the relocation or restoration of some beach structures such as the historic pavilion built in 1959 from the drawing boards of Tim Siebert, a prominent local architect.

A new pedestrian esplanade will also be constructed and the parking lots improved with more vehicle slots added. An upgraded and elevated new concession area will also built. Playground equipment and better picnic tables will also be provided. Additionally, non-native vegetation in the area will be replaced with plants endemic to Florida.

The amenities at the Brohard Beach in Venice likewise favor the handicapped. It has ADA-accessible boardwalks as well as fishing pier, picnic tables, benches, grills and concessions. Moreover, its Paw Park allows dogs for which two enclosed runs were constructed.

Wheelchair-friendly trail

Besides this beach and Siesta, nature parks around Sarasota also have handicapped-friendly features. At the Oscar Scherer State Park, there’s the Lester Finley Nature Trail, a short path accessible by wheelchair. It follows South Creek close to the park’s entrance. Though not so extensive, this trail offers ever-changing vistas with each turn of the way. There are benches along the path, and quite often, scrub jays are around to keep the visitors company.

Closer to the Sarasota downtown, handicapped-accessible facilities are also among the features of the 32-acre Bayfront Park/Marina. Besides its paved pathways, this urban pocket park has a picnic area, concessions, and boat rentals. Provided with vehicle parking and restrooms, this park is also pet-friendly.

An ADA-accessible dock is likewise among the features of the Marina Park and Boat Ramp in North Port. This local attraction also has a picnic shelter, grill, and parking area.