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Concerns raised over parking for disabled people at Marion County Fair

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis man is fighting for Hoosiers over what he calls a lack of parking for disabled people visiting the Marion County Fairgrounds during the annual fair.

Josh Gum called News 8 to get answers.

“Thankfully, our conditions right now are dry. The ones that are parking in the field to get in will be able to get through it, but these fields aren’t handicap-accessible.”

Gum raised concerns after he and his wife, who is disabled, discovered a major problem at the Marion County Fair.

“I had asked a few different employees at different gates where their handicapped parking was and we were told that there is no handicapped parking,” Gum said.

He found out later on the parking for disabled people is on the grass. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, grass surfaces are not firm, stable, and slip-resistant. There’s also no ADA parking signs, which makes it more difficult to find parking.

Gum says he talked about the issue online and now other people began saying they’re running into the same situation. “Now, I’m hearing from families, after I’ve taken to social media, that have run into the same issues as us. They’re the ones that are fueling my fight.”

Gum says he’s calling out to state and federal leaders to bring change. “Next year, that’s what I want. To make sure that anybody that comes to this fairgrounds has the parking that they need.”

According to Jeremiah Tevebaugh, executive director of the Marion County Fair, sections of ADA parking are available in the premiere parking lot, where fairgoers pay $10, and in the free parking lot during the annual fair. The event began Friday and will continue through Sunday.

However, Tevebaugh says, there are no plans to get rid of the grass for the ADA parking.

“I wouldn’t say that would be feasible in a plan of any kind. So, we have had multiple people that come in, they park, I check in with people as I see them in the park enjoying the fair to see if they had any difficulty coming in and other folks that I have talked to. No one has had any difficulty getting in,” Tevebaugh said.

According to Marion County Fair representatives, parking for people with disabilities exists with signs at the fairgrounds, but the spaces are only available during nonfair times due to safety issues. Tevebaugh said, “Safety is our primary concern just like everybody else in the United States. We want families to have a great time.”