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Woman upset 4 disabled parking spaces were taken

Posted at 10:50 PM, May 06, 2016
A beer truck taking up 4 disabled parking spaces at Lowry Park Zoo has a Tampa Bay woman upset.
 
Jennifer Griffith was at the zoo Friday with a group of seniors and 3 of them have handicap tags. She said it wasn't until she spoke with a manager that she was told about other available parking spots that were the same distance.
 
"I just presided (to) let her know that was a poor choice and that that was really sending a message and that it was just not very classy," Griffith said.
 
Griffith added the issue is not about distance.
 
"I find it hard to believe that they installed ramps and accessible room for people to load in and out of vehicles. I find it very hard they created that," Griffith said, referring to the other parking spots. She said it's about safety.
 
People were setting up for WaZoo Beer Fest at the zoo Friday. The fundraiser is Saturday night. A zoo representative said this was a temporary parking challenge for this special event; she said they tried to help people, who needed disabled parking spots, by redirecting them to other spaces up front of their business lot. The zoo official stated this does not happen on a regular basis.
 
"There were laws that were created for a reason so those are not optional spaces that you get to use when you want to," Griffith said.
 
ABC Action News was told zoo officials are now looking at finding a different location for the truck that will be a good compromise for everyone.
 
"It's easy to sit back and say she's overreacting, but you don't have to load a child in and out of a wheelchair from a parking spot everyday," Griffith said.
 
Griffith's 5-year-old son was born with Spina Bifida. Griffith said she appreciates what zoo officials are doing now, but for her it is more about awareness.
 
"Everything they do is a challenge in their life…the simplest things…but parking shouldn't be one of them," Griffith said.
 
ABC Action News reached out to the beer company. They said they were not notified about this until we contacted them. They told us they requested the truck be moved immediately; they also apologized if it caused any inconvenience for anyone who visited the zoo.