HISTORIC DAY: Santa Clara County Supervisors approve plan to make Vasona Lake boating center accessible

In what is arguably a historic day for the disability community throughout Silicon Valley, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a staff report calling for major upgrades to the Vasona Lake & Park boating center that NorCal SCI began advocating for exactly three months ago.

The monitor hanging over the Supervisors reflects the unanimous support the boating center upgrade received

The monitor hanging over the Supervisors reflects the unanimous support the boating center upgrade received

Our efforts began in earnest early August when NorCal SCI co-founders, Nick and Franklin, met with Janet Hawks who oversees the ADA compliance for Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation dept. It was a meeting to share with her the importance of making the boating center accessible to all persons with disabilities. It was also an opportunity for us to become better educated on the County’s efforts to update its facilities and make them accessible.

That meeting led to our first meeting exactly three months ago with Supervisor Ken Yeager and his Policy Director, Brian Darrow during which we made an impassioned request for his support for making the boating center accessible. We then met with Supervisor Mike Wasserman’s Chief of Staff, Christine Stavem and made our case to her. Overall, we received a very positive reception which led to the Board requesting the County Parks staff for a referral (equivalent of a report) on Oct. 16 to detail what it would take to make the boating center accessible and a budget for it.

The report came back from the County Parks Director, Don Rocha and his staff with a detailed work needed as well as a budget of approximately $560,000 that would take 2 1/2 - 4 years to complete. Our biggest concern involved the proposed length of time this project would require and at today’s meeting, we communicated that to the Board. Thankfully, Supervisors Yeager and Wasserman also expressed similar concerns and we have offered to partner up with the County Parks to help identify ways to accelerate this time plan. Finally, at just before 2:30 p.m., the Board took a vote with all five Supervisors signifying their consent to the plan.

The real work must now begin but while we’re taking the time to celebrate, we cannot help but acknowledge the collaboration and reception we’ve received from everyone. A quick shout out goes to Anthony Berry, Fernanda Castelo and Carl McGrew who attended today’s meeting.