County installs ADA-compliant courts
In 1995, Gloucester County, N.J.’s Disabled Persons Advisory Commission asked the county to analyze its implementation of Title II of ADA. Human Services Director David Armor began looking to construct facilities for alternative sports that would involve all residents. That year, Armor read an article in American City and County about Bankshot basketball, an ADA-compliant sport that resembles miniature golf.
Armor approached the county’s Parks Department and proposed that it build a Bankshot court. At the time, the county did not have a site available. However, Mantua Township was building a new park and offered space for the court.
After partnering with the township, the county received a $5,000 grant from the United Way to start the project. The court was constructed for a total cost of $50,000, which was included in the budget for the new park.
The court has hosted national and local events. Since its fall 1996 opening, the court has been used by 30 to 40 residents each day, with heavier traffic on the weekends, Armor says. The court received national attention last year when it was the site of the National Bankshot Tournament.
Because of the court’s success, the county opened another court in May in Deptford Township. That court, located in Fasola Park, was built with a $3,000 grant from the Rockville, Md.-based Bankshot Organization and a $25,000 grant from the local J. C. Penney, with additional funds coming from the Deptford Parks and Recreation Department. The new court hosted the 2001 National Bankshot Tournament in August.
In addition to building the basketball courts, the county found other ways to expand its recreational opportunities. “We wanted to provide more opportunities for people of all abilities to play together,” Armor says. To that end, the county unveiled the prototype for a Bankshot tennis court at this year’s National Bankshot Tournament. In recognition of its efforts, the county received the 2001 Award for Excellence from the National Association of Counties for the construction of its Bankshot facilities.