While many questions about the Pallet shelter project remain, the one that is currently reverberating through the community is why the temporary shelters are being placed on the one ball field in the city built for the disabled community.
According to the latest reports from the city, the 30 Pallet shelters will be placed in the outfield of the ball field at Pomona Park.
The ball field at Pomona Park is the only one in Greensboro that was designed and built to be accessible to the disabled community. The field was built as an Eagle Scout project with $200,000 in private funds raised to provide a specialized surface for the infield as well as a tabletop flat outfield that can be navigated by children in wheelchairs and who use walkers. One person familiar with the activities on the field said that even small divots can create problems for those using this field.
And there are some discrepancies in the schedule. According to the city, the Pallet shelter project won’t interfere with the activities on the field because the field isn’t used in the winter. But the practices for the leagues that play on the field usually begin in March and according to some information the Pallet shelters will be in use until April.
In most cases, practice could be held on a different field during March, but this field is unique in Greensboro and there is no other field where these teams of disabled children can practice.
Donna Gray, who retired from her long career with the City of Greensboro as the Community Relations Division director in 2021 and also served as the city’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator, said, “To choose the only disabled accessible site in Greensboro is a slap in the face to people with disabilities in our community.”
She said that the Special Olympics and The Arc of Greensboro that use the field had not been notified by the city of the plans to use it for Pallet shelters this winter.
Gray said that she had no opposition to the Pallet shelter project but opposed the location on the only field in the city built for the disabled community.
City Councilmember Zack Matheny said, “The manufacturer doesn’t recommend that the shelters be placed on grass.”
He said, “They’re going to destroy the field and then come back to us and request more funding to fix it.”
He said, “What if a handicapped child or family wants to go out on a nice day this winter and play. That is the only field in the city that is accessible to them.”