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Broward Parks Scores a First With Way-Finding App for Visually Impaired

BROWARD COUNTY, FL – Park patrons who are blind or have low vision now have a whole new method to navigate around a Broward County park, thanks to AIRA, a way-finding app that gives such individuals real-time access to trained agents. Broward County Parks’ Special Populations Section will introduce the app, which has already been tried out by volunteers, during the next Tandem Bike Event, to be held from 10AM to noon on Saturday, July 31st, at Tradewinds Park & Stables (3600 W Sample Rd., Coconut Creek; 954-357-8870). Rain date is August 7th.

Broward County Parks is the first county parks and recreation system in the State of Florida to provide AIRA to its patrons. The County will pay an annual fee to activate the app, which can be downloaded for free and then used within park boundaries. Upon entering a park, a patron can engage the app, which will connect them to a trained AIRA agent with extensive training in working with people who are blind or have low vision. The agent, interacting with the patron in real time, can provide up to 30 minutes of assistance per day to help locate specific facilities such as restrooms, shelters, and park offices, and to read signage, including park rules and posted safety guidelines.

For the Parks Division, AIRA is another way to demonstrate the agency’s commitment to inclusivity. The Division started its Special Populations Section more than 35 years ago. Since then, the Section has provided year-round recreation and leisure programs, special events, and services to meet the needs of children, teens, adults, and seniors who may have a visual impairment, a physical impairment, and/or an intellectual or developmental disability. AIRA will give park visitors who are blind or have low vision greater independence and safety, enabling them to more fully enjoy the many experiences available at a park.

Special Populations regularly partners with local organizations that provide services to individuals who are blind or have low vision. One such group, Lighthouse of Broward, estimates that there are as many as 350,000 people with visual impairments in Broward County. Lighthouse has agreed to bring a teen group from a summer camp to Plantation Heritage Park (1100 S Fig Tree Lane, Plantation; 954-357-5135) later this month for further testing of the app.

For more information, contact, 954-357-8170.

Recreation. Preservation. Education.

About the Parks and Recreation Division
Broward County Parks manages almost 6,500 acres, encompassing nearly 50 regional parks and nature centers, neighborhood parks, and natural areas at various stages of development. Hours and fees vary by location. Visit for details. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in programs, services, and activities must contact the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or TTY 954-537-2844 at least five business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event.

DATE: July 22, 2021      
Parks and Recreation Division
PHONE: 954-357-8115