Accessibility Improved At Spring Mill’s Grissom Memorial

(MITCHELL) – Anyone visiting the Grissom Memorial at Spring Mill State Park who has struggled to try to open the front doors will find they are now much easier to open.

Two years ago, while working at Grissom Days, Friends of Spring Mill State Park (FSMSP) volunteer Hugh McNeely noted that many people struggled with the heavy doors of the Grissom Memorial. He was manning a table inside the door and said he frequently jumped up to help people with the door.

Fast forward to 2020, and there are accessible buttons on both sides of the door to automatically open the doors. The doors were made possible with a grant from Lawrence County Tourism to increase accessibility to the site. The balance of the cost of the mechanical openers for the new doors was paid for by the FSMSP and installation was done by the Spring Mill State Park staff.  We hope to soon be able to have a similar door opener on the interior door as well, although the interior door is much lighter and easier to open.

The Grissom Memorial attracts an estimated 80,000 visitors each year. Twelve percent of the U.S. population (possibly 9,600 of those who visit the Memorial) have a severe disability and may require the type of door openers installed at the Memorial. However, the new openers are also beneficial for parents with strollers and others who would rather not struggle with doors. It is another effort to make Spring Mill more accessible and welcoming to everyone.  

The Friends group had also worked to acquire an all-terrain wheelchair to allow people who could no longer easily walk the trails, to still be able to get out and enjoy them. A wheelchair was later donated by the Brown family of Bloomington and is now available for use on portions of Trail 1 and Trail 7.

In the future, the Friends hope to help the Park get accessible doors at the Lakeview Activity Center and for the interior door at the Grissom Memorial. Thanks to the Lawrence County Tourism for their generosity in helping with the accessible doors for the memorial.