DCBDD receives $600K in grants


The Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities recently received approximately $600,000 in grant funds from the State of Ohio, which it plans to use to enhance accessibility around the county and add more universal changing table locations.

DCBDD Superintendent Kristine Hodge said the Ohio Department of Development Disabilities has allocated about $600,000 to the DCBDD as part of $14.9 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds being distributed to developmental disability boards across the state.

“We applied, and we wanted to look at accessibility and inclusion,” Hodge said. “We were very fortunate we were awarded the amount we were. We’ve already begun working with different organizations across the county. … They’ve been highly receptive to considering these projects and (working) to move forward with the projects.”

Hodge said the board has “a lot of projects to work on,” including design production and installation of a “braille trail” at Preservation Parks of Delaware County and a designing a fully accessible restroom facility at Deer Haven. The board will also partner with the Delaware County District Library to create an accessibility widget for its website, add emergency evacuation equipment at the Liberty Branch, and get a new vehicle to help distribute books to people who are unable to visit a branch.

Other projects that will be completed using the funds include an all-terrain wheelchair for Alum Creek State Park, a powered door for the City of Delaware’s Recreation Center at Mingo Park, and putting money towards accessible playground equipment at Delaware State Park.

“The opener at Mingo Park would be for the Recreation Center,” said Chase Waits, DCBDD director of communications & community engagement. “The main entrance to the facility has an automatic opener for the outer door but does not have an automatic opener for the inner door due to budget constraints.”

The board is also looking to add 10 universal changing tables in various locations throughout Delaware County this year.

“We want to do our part,” Hodge said. “It really aligns with our strategic plan… making sure out community is accessible to everybody and that everyone has the opportunity participate in all aspects of life.”

Hodge said changing tables in particular are “game changer” for families that need that type of facility.

“Before (universal changing tables), they’d have to work their life around when they would have a need to use the restroom,” Hodge said. “We want to make sure we’re continually breaking down barriers that exists, not just for people with developmental disabilities but all different types of abilities or disabilities.”

Hodge said the grant funds will help the board continue towards their goal of making “Delaware County the most inclusive county in the State of Ohio.”

“We want people to be able to go all the places,” Hodge said. “The people we’re partnering with, this will be great access for them… It’s going to be a lot of work this year but I think we’re going to really make a difference for accessibility for the people of Delaware County.”

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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