LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Members of the disabled community in Lee County may stage demonstrations at or near Jet Blue Park this winter, to protest the lack of public transportation to the stadium. It's the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox.
"I am an avid baseball fan, have been going back to 1960, and a lot of disabled people are fans. Doesn't matter if they can't walk or see, they are fans, and we cannot get to the park because there is no public transportation," said Michael Pierce, who is blind and works at the Center for Independent Living in Lee County. "Elderly people who don't drive anymore, also are cut out of the experience."
Pierce says last winter, he had to tell two wounded combat veterans, they could not go to ballgames at Jet Blue, because there is no public transit for the disabled.
"That makes me angry," says Pierce.
Commissioner Frank Mann says the county does a lot to provide transportation to the disabled and others who cannot or do not drive.
"We make sure they get to the medical appointments, to their jobs, to the grocery store. But getting them to a recreational or sporting event, well, that has never been a core service. It's not high on our list of priorities," said Mann.
Pierce says disabled and elderly people have suggested staging demonstrations near the stadium during spring training games this coming winter. No plans have been finalized.
Lee Tran, the public transit service in Lee county, says it has no plans or money to provide public transportation to Jet Blue on Daniels Parkway, until 2018 at the earliest.
Pierce says he believes, about 10 percent of the population does not drive, for whatever reason. That would amount to about 60-thousand people in Lee county.