Golden gains wheelchair access

Published: January 24, 2007  |  Source: thegoldenstar.net
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The efforts of a handful of racers and organizers are helping make Golden a better place to live for people in wheelchairs.

Funds raised at last June’s fourth annual Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion event in Golden will go towards improving parking spaces in the downtown corridor of Golden. Locals Rob McKeeman and Dave Clapperton co-ordinated the race and, through their efforts, more than $3,900 was raised.

The Rick Hansen Foundation confirmed last week that more than $1,500 will stay in Golden for a project to help people with spinal cord injuries.

For the past few years, McKeeman says the funds raised at the Wheels in Motion event in Golden went to help upgrade the home of a man with a spinal cord injury to make his home more wheelchair friendly. But this year, no one needed the funds for a specific project.

McKeeman talked to a few other locals who use wheelchairs to get around and they decided making parking spaces more accessible was a good project.

The details of the project will be decided in the spring when town staff can look at the parking spaces in town and assess concerns such as sloped or narrow parking spots.

Town council and the Lions Club are partners in the project and all parties are just waiting for the snow to melt.

“As soon as the weather is permitting, we’ll get together with representatives of the town and look at some different spots and obviously try and improve the ones we have,” McKeeman says.

There were concerns the Rick Hansen Foundation would not allow Golden to keep the money because it could not be spent before the end of 2006. But the foundation just agreed to the parking stall improvement project proposal and has allowed the local Wheels in Motion organizers to carry the money over into 2007 until it can be spent on the project, slated hopefully for this spring.

The Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion event is an annual race held across Canada. Participants walk, run or wheel to raise funds to improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury and for research leading to a cure. The next Wheels in Motion event happens Sunday, June 10, 2007.

© Copyright 2007 Golden Star
By lorene keitch
Star Reporter