Access Upgrades at Ivy Green

It’s nice to see the US tourism industry addressing access issues. And it’s even nicer to see our government funding access improvements at historic sites.

Take Ivy Green for example.

Located in Tuscumbia, Alabama, Ivy Green is better known as the birthplace of Helen Keller. The house was built in 1820, and to be honest, access wasn’t a primary concern when it was built. But today with 35,000 visitors annually — many of whom use wheelchairs — access *has* become a top priority.

Enter our federal government, which recently provided Ivy Green with $121,250 for access improvements; most of which is earmarked for installing accessible walkways throughout the complex.

And the money is being put to very good use. When I visited Ivy Green last week I was pleased to find the access upgrades nearly complete. The old deteriorating pathways have been replaced by level sidewalks, and wheelers can now easily navigate the grounds to see the home, the pump and the garden house. Of course there’s still a little clean up work to be done, but the staff hopes to wrap the project up in the next few weeks.

And if you happen to visit Ivy Green this weekend, you can catch the last performance of “The Miracle Worker”. Every year, from early June to mid-July, this popular play is performed under the stars at Ivy Green. There’s plenty of wheelchair seating and the whole play is interpreted in ASL. All in all, it’s the a great way to end a visit to Ivy Green.

Kudos to our federal government for providing the funding for this access project, and to the Ivy Green staff for putting a priority on access.