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Tanana Valley fair begins access improvements

6/20/2013 1:15 PM
By Associated Press

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Renovation work is smoothing cracked sidewalks and uneven ground at the Tanana Valley State Fair.

A $750,000 appropriation by the Alaska Legislature in 2012 is paying for paving or smoothing of walkways with the goal of increasing accessibility.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/14Mp8Nr ) reports two advocacy groups, Access Alaska and Wall Busters, helped obtain the grant. Representatives of Wall Busters surveyed the fairgrounds in 2010 and recommended improvements to reach restrooms, vendors and barns.

"One of the biggest problems for the fair is the uneven asphalt," said Art Delaune, a services supervisor at Access Alaska. "Lots of things make it hard, especially for people with mobility issues to access the fair. That's why it's absolutely critical that those who actually walk the walk — or roll the roll — are involved because there are so many things as a person without disabilities you would never notice."

Fair manager Jill Falldin said summer work will include paving handicap-accessible parking spaces at each gate. Wall Busters made a strong effort to ensure the fair can accommodate people with mobility issues by being accommodating and working with vendors directly, so booths comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, she said.

"They've been absolutely amazing to work with," Falldin said.

The fairgrounds and the advocacy groups will host events during the fair to promote awareness of disabilities.

"With all the nice new fairgrounds, we're going to try to take advantage to teach people about disabilities," Delaune said. "We'll have wheelchair basketball, a scavenger hunt and other activities."

The fair opens Aug. 2.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com


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