Support builds for new handicap accessible fishing pier at park

Pictured at the Dec. 20 donation ceremony at Waterloo City Hall, from left, are public works director Tim Birk, Mark Wetzler from the Odd Fellows, Derrick Heubner of Heubner Concrete, Chris Douglas, Mayor Tom Smith, H.R. Gentsch and park district president Joann Harlin. (Kermit Constantine photo)

Waterloo moved another step closer to building a handicap accessible fishing pier at Lakeview Park.

On Dec. 20, Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge 27 donated $20,000 toward the project. Joining the Odd Fellows in supporting this effort were Harrisonville Telephone Company, Little Caesars Pizza and Huebner Concrete. HTC donated $2,500, Little Caesars donated $1,500, and Huebner donated dirt work.

The county has also pledged support for this project, offering to do all the necessary striping on and around the new pier.

In June, the Waterloo City Council passed a resolution .

“I think we have a really good shot at getting this grant,” Smith said, adding that there are other grants they may apply for as well. “We’re very appreciative of the Odd Fellows for their generous donation.”

A drawing of the proposed new handicap accessible fishing pier at Lakeview Park in Waterloo.

Project plans call for an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant floating fishing pier featuring a six-foot-by-30-foot ramp, 16-foot-by-24-foot platform, handrailing and two bench seats.

A handicap accessible parking area next to the new pier is also proposed.

The inspiration for this new pier is 18-year-old Chris Douglas of Waterloo, an avid fisher who is confined to a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy.

“He just loves to fish,” his mother, Debbie Douglas, said for an article that appeared in June. “He would sit out there all day (and fish) if we would let him.”

Unfortunately for Douglas, fishing access is difficult at Lakeview Park because he is unable to get close to the water.

Mayor Smith said it is his hope that other organizations will donate to this effort. If the city receives the grant, construction of the new pier could begin in April or May.

For more information on how to support this project, call Waterloo City Hall at 939-8600.

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