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People with disabilities find new Montgomery County Fair site difficult to navigate

Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 @ 11:57 PM

Disabled fairgoers find difficulties getting around new fairgrounds

A Dayton woman said her trip to the Montgomery County Fair was cut short because she couldn’t get around.

Daveina Petticrew said the new fairgrounds site in Jefferson Twp. is not accessible for people with disabilities. 

RELATED: Montgomery County Fair kicks off at first new home in 166 years

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“I couldn’t even get in the bathroom,” she said. 

Recent surgery has kept Petticrew from getting around as much as she'd like to, but taking her 5-year-old granddaughter to the fair is a tradition. 

Daveina Petticrew of Dayton said she had a great deal of disappointment and difficult getting around in a wheelchair at the Montgomery County Fair’s new home in Jefferson Twp.(SEAN CUDAHY / STAFF)

Petticrew said she rented a wheelchair Tuesday to take to the newly opened fairgrounds off Infirmary Road. 

But she was disppointed by what she found. 

“You can’t use the wheelchair anywhere else. The rocks are the size of your fist and smaller,” she said. “There’s no way to get the wheelchair from the rides unless someone’s pulling.” 

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She said getting in and out of the fairgrounds’ new buildings was difficult, too. 

“There’s no button to be able to push on the door for the wheelchair to be able to try to go in, so if somebody doesn’t hold the door for you, then you can't get inside the door,” she said. 

Montgomery County Agricultural Society Executive Director Greg Wallace said the new facilities passed inspections and comply with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. 

RELATED County Fair Guide

“Absolutely. We have our occupancy permits, which we passed all of the required rules for ADA,” Wallace said. 

However, he admitted there are things fair organizers have realized during the event’s inaugural year in Jefferson Twp. that need to be improved. 

“One of the concerns that we’ve had, and again, we didn’t think about, is we have a lot of gravel. And so that makes things a little more difficult for wheelchairs,” he said. 

And one other thing: “The doors do not have push buttons” to automatically open doors. 

Wallace also said the contractor that was supposed to rent scooters at this year’s fair backed out just last week.

RELATED: What you need to know about the Montgomery County Fair 

These are all things the fair board wants to try to find the money to improve. 

In the meantime, Petticrew said she is worried about what some young people might find when they come out this week. 

“There’s going to be disabled children that are going to be wanting to come to the fair this year and they’re not going to be able to, because they’re not going to be able to have their wheelchairs in there,” she said.

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