COEUR d’ALENE – A celebration of the new ADA-compliant ramp at Atlas Park is scheduled for July 23 – but some who shouldn’t be using it already.
And even abused.
Children climbed the ramp on Monday afternoon as a starting point for swimming and snorkeling in the inviting clear waters of the Spokane River. Not a big deal in and of itself as nothing suggests they shouldn’t.
That’s going to change.
The city plans to put up signs telling people to stay away from the ramp, which has also been destroyed several times, including a broken railing.
“They use it like a jungle gym,” says Bill Greenwood, Coeur d’Alene city park manager.
The ramp is for people with special needs, he added.
A wheelchair-accessible kayak start is also only downstream.
“Anyone can use it, but it’s designed for people with disabilities,” said Greenwood.
The ramp will be used on July 23, when the Disability Action Center in Post Falls celebrates there. Several will try the ramp, a proclamation will be read out and lunch will be served from the pita pit at lunchtime.
Michelle Porter, DAC independent living specialist, said the ramp will allow wheelchair users to basically roll into the water, secure the chair, and float away on a flotation device.
Such a ramp is rare, said Porter. The kayak launch, which allows one person to switch from a wheelchair to the kayak, and the dog park are also ADA compliant.
“You now have a place that is accessible,” she said. “That’s great.”
Greenwood said Atlas Park proved popular this summer. It has hiking trails, open spaces, a playground and access to the water.
“This park hits a lot of the things that the public asked for in our master plan,” he said.
“The most important thing to me is that it is ADA compliant,” added Greenwood.