A recent Visitor Bureau survey of visitors revealed that almost two-thirds of our visitors are over 50 and almost half are 60 years or older. Almost 30 percent of the resident population of Door County is over 65. According to the Census Bureau at least 40 percent of people aged 65 or older had at least one disability that affected their mobility.
Our Agricultural entities recognize this and offer many ways for mobility restricted persons to participate in events such as the thresheree and FFA breakfast. The track record for our civic associations and local municipalities is not as good. Handicapped parking for events and transportation from parking to events is rarely provided. Event patrons often need to park on shoulders not designed for parking. Events are often staged on premises that are clearly not designed for the handicapped or even just the mobility restricted.
Those who have mobility restrictions and those who care for them often avoid the community events that are often designed to attract the pocket books of those who are more likely to have mobility restrictions. Visit any farm market or mass event and you will find seniors, folks with walkers and disabled veterans struggling to navigate the difficult terrain that event operators choose to ignore.
Because people tend to ignore disability requirements until they are confronted with the needs of the aging and disabled in their own personal lives, there is a law called the ADA that makes it clear what the standard of practice should be of any entity that serves the public. This law is more than the perfunctory handicapped parking space, it applies the principle that all are created equal to those who have physical limitations. Isn’t it time for community standards throughout the Peninsula that ensure that all are welcomed to Door County and welcome at our events?
Myles Dannhausen Sr.
Egg Harbor, Wis.