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ADA bathrooms come to Bloomington parks thanks to a mom's persistence

How a Twin Cities mom inspired change one bathroom at a time
How a Twin Cities mom inspired change one bathroom at a time 01:53

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Sometimes it only takes one person's persistence to make a change.

That's the case in Bloomington, where the city's parks are switching out non-ADA-accessible portable restrooms in favor of ones that are more accessible.

The change is the outcome of nearly a year of dedication for one Twin Cities mom. 

"I think it's important to remember that as a community member, you are in a position of power, always," said Dani Indovino Cawley of Bloomington. "I really, truly believe that people want to make their communities a better place – sometimes it just takes a little bit of pushing."

Indovino Cawley said she first noticed the need for accessible bathrooms at city parks when planning an event last summer.

"When I got here to do the walkthrough, I noticed it was a non-accessible porta potty," she said. "I was surprised, and it made me a little sad. I had a friend who went to an event at a park here. Her daughter is in a power wheelchair. She lives in Richfield, and came to this event, and they had to leave early."

It wasn't long until Indovino Cawley decided to email an elected official.

"I asked, like, do you know that the porta-potties aren't accessible," said Indovino Cawley. "That you don't have an accessible bathroom here? I think they were as surprised as I was."

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Indovino Cawley says for those with mobility or sensory issues, accessible bathrooms can make a world of difference.

The city has since responded, adding the ADA-accessible bathrooms to nearly every park and playlot.

"It wasn't something I had thought of, but as soon as it was given to me, I thought, wow, what a great opportunity to make our parks more inviting," said PJ Skusa, the city's Park Maintenance Supervisor. "It's been great, people have been really happy that we're doing this – I think it's just a step in the right direction for Bloomington in general."

"Often, when you're the person that notices, other people have noticed it," said Indovino Cawley. "Taking the moment to speak up and be a voice for something that's so important, it's just one of the best things you can do."

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