Dow Gardens replaces mobility scooters with guided golf karts - WNEM TV 5

Dow Gardens replaces mobility scooters with guided golf karts

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

One Mid-Michigan woman says a new policy is putting the brakes on her summer plans.

She said Dow Gardens in Midland replaced its mobility scooters, but the gardens say it’s for the betterment of its guests.

Mary Beth Hetrick loves taking her grandchildren on walks through the gardens. She is a frequent visitor who has come to rely on the gardens’ mobility scooters since she could not afford one of her own.

A recent change in policy may cause her to stop visiting.

“The golf karts don’t really solve the problem,” Hetrick said.

Earlier this month, Dow Gardens replaced their mobility scooters with tour guided golf karts. Hetrick said the change leaves you at the mercy of the tour guide, instead of enjoying the gardens at your own pace.

“I could move them around and keep them moving. And you know, enjoy the process,” Hetrick said.

TV5 took the tough questions to Dow Gardens directly to figure out why the sudden change.

“We have about 138,000 guests that come to the gardens that all have diverse needs and we’re always in what we’re doing thinking about how can we answer getting them out into the gardens and having a great experience,” said Elizabeth Lumbert, director for Dow Gardens.

Lumbert said they are not preventing visitors from bringing in mobility scooters, but over the years have notices some misuse of their own and even cases of visitors losing their way.

Dow Gardens said the reason they are replacing the scooters with the golf karts is because of safety concerns, as well as better accessibility.

“We’d rather put a person on a machine like a golf kart that has a guide. So when they come to experience the garden they’re on a machine with a person,” Lumbert said.

While Hetrick said she appreciates the thought, she still believes the scooters should never have been taken away in the first place.

“I think that the golf karts can go places the scooters can’t. But most of the garden has got a cement path all the way through it. So there’s no reason to not have the amigos,” Hetrick said.

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