Toledo Botanical Garden creates accessible new space for those with disabilities

The Doneghy Inclusive Garden boasts AstroTurf, ADA complaint concrete paths, and carefully selected plants to make it accessible to everyone.
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 6:22 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Toledo Botanical Garden has a brand-new feature rolling out just in time for the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 100th anniversary of the Ability Center.

“I was one of the first people to use the raised bed and I planted a plant,” says Katie Shelley, a disability advocate who helped with the design of the Doneghy Inclusive Garden. “It was really the first time I was ever able to plant a plant outside, so it was a really cool experience.”

This new green space also boasts AstroTurf which is easier to navigate in a wheelchair, ADA compliant concrete paths, and carefully selected plants that are proven to help people living with disabilities.

“This is a state-of-the-art accessible garden, says Executive Director Tim Harrington. “Metroparks has done a wonderful job in making sure it’s inclusive to everybody.”

One of the most eye-catching features of the new garden is a state-of-the-art rain wall. The wall is operated by a motion sensor, turning on the rain when someone is nearby and stimulating their senses of sight, sound, and feel.

The garden is named for Lera Doneghy and her late husband Charles who both lived with disabilities and found it tough to navigate the uneven outdoor terrain with wheelchairs. This new space is designed to give everyone easy access to nature.

“In the garden people, with disabilities will be able to use turnstiles to do gardening and then actually be able to do pottery,” explains Doneghy. “And I just think that’s so important.”

Park officials encourage everyone to come out and enjoy all the cool and calming features the garden has to offer. The new Doneghy Inclusive Garden will be open from 7 AM until sundown daily.

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