This letter is in reply the letter to the editor on Sept. 27 titled “Balloon Fest didn’t help handicapped.”
Southern Adirondack Independent Living (SAIL) is a local advocacy organization for people with disabilities. Their mission is to promote independence, dignity and equality for people with disabilities and to remove barriers to access. SAIL has had contact both with the Warren County Department of Public Works and the Adirondack Balloon Festival to follow up with the concerns about the accessibility options from last week’s festival; we found that both organizations are strongly concerned about ensuring access for people with disabilities and are aware of legal requirements for access.
It should be noted that there were two accessible portable rest room facilities on site, and in addition there were two ATV/carts on site to provide transportation to those with mobility issues across the airport grounds.
Although the experience written of was unfortunate, both agencies have assured SAIL that every possible effort will continue to be made to accommodate anyone with a disability. Additionally, in keeping with our mission to help all community events be as accessible as possible, SAIL has offered its services to the Adirondack Balloon Festival to advise and supply any equipment deemed needed for future events. SAIL can also work with local businesses and events that want to be sure they are meeting not only legal, but also functional, needs of anyone who could use accommodations (someone carrying baggage, utilizing a stroller or accessing their environment with a mobility device). Making events and business, even home, more universally accessible makes it possible for everyone to have equitable access, increased business and increased comfort while frequenting community and commerce opportunities.
Chas Barrie, Advocate, Southern Adirondack Independent Living