A wheelchair to the beach? Down to the shoreline? Yes, actually, at City Beach. Such access had been requested over the years in Coeur d’Alene, and it finally became a reality on August 31st. “We never really had a plan for how we were going to do it,” Parks and Rec Director Steve Anthony said Monday. But he found a plan, and it’s one that was endorsed by the Disability Action Center.
The portable, lighted, L-shaped pathway can be adjusted for water levels. The pathway stretches 60 feet down toward the water from the sidewalk and runs for 80 feet along the shoreline.
“The freedom that gives is just enormous,” said Virgil Edwards, (pictured on the ramp at right) Disability Action Center’s independent living specialist. A lack of access can leave people feeling “pushed away” and “unwanted” Edwards said.
“There’s quite a few folks here who will be able to use it,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for people who have mobility issues, who can now be with family and friends to
enjoy the water.”
“The idea is people using wheelchairs can bring their families down now and actually be on the waterfront, instead of up on the sidewalk,” Anthony said. “We’re planning on leaving it out as long as we can.”
Coeur d’Alene Sunrise Rotary Club and Idaho Panhandle Kiwanis each donated $1,000 for the project and the city used settlement funds from dam relicensing from Avista Utilities to pay the balance of $13,000.
Next summer, a transfer station will be installed that helps wheelchair users and others to get into the water with another person’s assistance, Anthony said. It won’t be installed this year because it was damaged in shipping.
The City also rebuilt the curb cut at the entrance to the park to ensure smooth travel. By DAC NW working with the community, next summer will mark a new season of accessibility to recreation for community residents and their families!