Three aquatic wheelchairs are now available to patrons at Moscow’s Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center after Mayor Bill Lambert cut a blue ribbon and three women rolled into the shallow waters of the HLAC’s activity pool Wednesday afternoon.
Lambert and Moscow Parks and Recreation Director Dwight Curtis introduced the wheelchairs prior to the ribbon cutting with a handful of city staff members and dozens of pool attendees present.
“With these and then the wheelchair swing (at East City Park) that we opened last year, we’re just trying to do the best that we can to provide everything for all of our patrons and citizens in the community,” Recreation Supervisor Kellisa Kulm said.
The wheelchairs are made of PVC pipe instead of metal like a standard wheelchair, and include a seat belt, anti-tip wheels and brakes. Kulm said pool patrons will be able to use the wheelchairs in the activity pool free of charge.
She said some people do not want to go into the water with their personal wheelchair, but now they can use one of the new aquatic wheelchairs.
Kulm said the recently purchased wheelchairs would not have been possible without financial contributions from Gritman Medical Center and Stepping Stones Inc. in Moscow.
The three wheelchairs cost a total of $5,895. Gritman and Stepping Stones contributed $2,200 each and the city put in $1,495, Kulm said.
“Without those contributions, we would not have been able to provide this amenity to our patrons and our citizens in our community,” Kulm said. “I think they’re going to be a great addition to the aquatic center.”
Peter Mundt, Gritman’s director of community relations and marketing, said the hospital is happy to support the project.
“Helping people, particularly people with physical ability issues, be able to access the pool and stay active and stay healthy and enjoy themselves is a part of keeping the community healthy,” he said. “So it’s right in line with our mission.”
Vicki Jahns, chairwoman of the Stepping Stones grant committee, said the organization, which helps people with disabling conditions in the area, supports projects every year that assist people with developmental disabilities. The aquatic wheelchairs are yet another example.
Kulm said each wheelchair is a different size. The largest wheelchair can hold 430 pounds and the two smallest ones have a weight capacity of 350 pounds.
People in wheelchairs regularly visit the HLAC, Kulm said. Some do aquatic exercises for physical therapy and others enjoy sitting in the water.
She said parents also want to be able to enjoy the water with their children who are in wheelchairs and the new equipment will assist with that.
An Americans with Disabilities Act lift is also available at the HLAC. Kulm said the lift allows those who need assistance to enter the water.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to email@example.com.