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Ramp to Replace Elevators at Conn. River Walk Park


SPRINGFIELD (WGGB) — Two months ago, we told you about ongoing problems with the Conn. River Walk Park sky-bridge in Springfield, and tonight, we have an update.

The woman who’s been spearheading the charge to fix it speaks out, and says the end my be in sight.

Back in May, we heard from Springfield resident Sheila McElwaine and her concerns over the pedestrian bridge linking to Riverfront Park.

Specifically, its poorly designed elevator.

She’s been concerned that people with disabilities haven’t been able to access the park because it rarely works.

“There’s been positive movement from the city but always grudgingly and never with good communications with the public,” said McElwaine.

In 2011, she wrote to the state Architectural Access Board asking them to step in – and they did.

The board told Springfield to figure out a way to make it work while keeping the park accessible to everyone.

So the city presented the state with three solutions.

  1. Continue to fix the persistent problems with the elevator. Last year alone, that cost $50,000.
  2. Put in an all new elevator
  3. Take the elevator out and replace it with a ramp similar to the one across the way.

The board reviewed the issue and decided on the ramp – writing it would “grant until December 1, 2015 for completion of the proposed ramp at the current location of the elevator.”

One of the conditions was that the city first improve alternate access to the park, which has just been finished with new pavement and railroad ties at the main entrance.

It’s welcome news, long in coming for McElwaine. Still, she knows there’s a lot more work to be done.

“I am patient but I really wish the city were being more active, more proactive in terms of maintenance and in terms of communications with the citizens.”

And while the elevator is up and running for now, – it’s days are numbered.

The cost to build the new ramp, estimated to be more than $500,000.

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