TOWNSHIP – Fundraising efforts to install an ADA-compliant kayak launching ramp are about halfway through the goal, and donations from the public are being sought, according to a founder of ‘a local sledge hockey team to help lead the effort.
“We raised $ 23,600 last Tuesday,” Mark J. McKenna told Canton City Council Thursday evening.
Instead of a previous fundraising goal of $ 34,000, the goal is now to raise $ 46,000 for a launch designed with the Americans with Disabilities Act in mind.
“I want to have it before the canoe races (Rushton) so that everyone can use it,” McKenna said.
Currently, the Taylor Park site has a concrete slab installed at the waterline, to which the wharf will be attached ashore.
The proposed launch would have a roller system to facilitate the entry and exit of kayaks from the Grasse River, and would be fitted with a transfer bench that resembles a long, shallow staircase. A person in a wheelchair can get in and out of the water and get on and off their boat with little or no assistance. The bench also features straps and bars to make it easier to get in and out of a kayak.
“Come in, just do the reverse … nobody has that in the Northeast.” It will be the first in the north of the country. I guarantee you it won’t be the last, ”McKenna, founder of the Mountain Warriors sledge hockey team, told the board.
“I can see a lot of other people using it … especially kayaking,” said Councilor Martha Foley Smith.
Mr McKenna and city supervisor Mary Ann Ashley said citizens can donate for the project.
“People can claim it on their taxes,” said Ashley.
Anyone who wants to donate can write a check and specify “ADA Canoe Launch” on the memo line, she added.
Mr McKenna said if more than the $ 46,000 is raised it will go towards making bathrooms more accessible.
“All the money that’s left, I would say we put in public baths, makes the bathrooms ADA compatible,” he said.
He also said he would like to see the completed facility bear the Rushton name.
“I want to call it the Rushton Canoe Launch… I think it’s time Canton put Rushton back on the map,” McKenna said.