New baseball field sparks ADA conversation

Ridgefield Little League’s plans for a new baseball field at the intersection of Route 7 and Simpaug Turnpike — now named 2 Sanford Station Road  — will be changing to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Don Ciota, chairman of the Commission for the Disabled, wrote a letter to the Planning and Zoning Commission outlining a few modifications that should be made to the plans to ensure ADA compliance.

“The field isn’t built yet; this is the right time to be discussing that,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi told The Press.

Steve Scalzo, president of Little League, said he has been working with Ridgefield ADA coordinator Tony Phillips, and the changes in Ciota’s letter will be addressed.

“There are some small suggestions we’d have to make to the plans,” said Scalzo. “As far as we’re concerned our goal is to comply.”

The suggestions include the addition of changing tables in bathrooms, a low service counter at the concession stand, adequate doorways and handles for wheelchair use, an assisted listening device for PA system communications, and space for wheelchair sitting at the player seating area, among other things.

Scalzo said part of the appeal of the field is to offer it to the Little League’s Challenger Division.

The Challenger Division allows boys and girls ages 5 to 16 with physical and mental disabilities the opportunity to participate in this beloved American pastime.

Marconi said the commission is being proactive.

“We have a much more active Commission for the Disabled, that’s genuinely looking at each and every project,” he told The Press Tuesday.

“They’ve never done that in the past.”

He believes it’s an important step, so that all town structures are accessible to everyone.

“That’s what we’re trying to do now, is to always have that be part of the dialogue in our community,” he said.

“Once we change the culture so that people understand and think about ADA all the time, we’ll have less work to do.”