(PLATTSBURGH, NY - Thursday August 4th, 2022) -The Sunrise Rotary Club of Plattsburgh and the City of Plattsburgh are pleased to announce a joint initiative to bring recreational access to the Plattsburgh City Beach.
A Year Long Collaboration
Over the past year, Sunrise Rotary raised money with community organizations to purchase two beach wheelchairs as a gift to the City of Plattsburgh. One of the wheelchairs is a traditional beach wheelchair with big tires and the other is an all-terrain wheelchair which has a push bar but can also be self-propelled.
“Expanding access to the City Beach is critical to our community and to visitors who use and enjoy the City Beach,” said Colleen Downs, Board Member of the Plattsburgh Sunrise Rotary. “Mobility issues can prevent people from enjoying recreation time with families and friends when accessibility is limited.”
The project started back in July 2021 with Sunrise Rotary and The City working closely together throughout the year. After Sunrise Rotary completed their fundraising goal, the chairs were purchased in early Spring with the intention of gifting them to the City in time for summer. Unfortunately due to supply chain interruptions, one beach chair arrived in late July and the group is still waiting for the other to arrive.
After receiving the first chair in late July and having a friend of Sunrise Rotary who is a wheelchair user test the chair at the beach, the group decided that more community outreach and engagement should be completed before making the chairs available for public use, to ensure the success of the chairs at the beach.
"It's critically important that whatever we do as a municipality that our focus is on inclusion and access," says Mayor Rosenquest. "That looks like ASL interpreters at public events, ADA complaint tents and quiet zones at parades, and improved access to playground equipment."
"Focusing on all abilities only enhances our community member and visitor experience. We won't always get it right but we will always work with community advocates and groups like Rotary to improve and grow," adds Rosenquest.
Call for User Testing
As part of the rollout, Sunrise Rotary and the City are looking for a small group of volunteers to provide insight into other measures that will support the wheelchairs, such as an accessibility mat and its placement at the beach, and fine-tuning the process for the public to use the chairs.
The City and Sunrise Rotary are looking to gather input from a diverse perspective of potential beach chair users.If you are someone who is interested in attending a brief meeting at the City Beach to provide feedback on the use of these accessible wheelchairs, please contact Colleen Downs at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday August 22, 2022.
Sunrise Rotary would like to thank the CVPH Foundation, North Country Center for Independence, Sean LaDieau, the ARC Foundation and the United Way of the Adirondack Region for donating to this project. Their commitment to public health and accessibility allowed this project to move forward.