A Ribbon Cutting and Dedication Ceremony of a brand new launch for canoes and kayaks, specially designed for ease of use by people with disabilities, will be the kick-off for the Gary Clean Water Festival on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at Gary’s Marquette Park.
The launch is one of the latest improvements in the park that will make it much easier for both people with disabilities and people without disabilities to get small boats in and out of the water. Until the invention of this innovative launch, it was difficult or impossible for people with disabilities to participate independently in water recreation like canoeing and kayaking. The launch is only the third of its kind in the entire state of Indiana that serves Americans With Disabilities (ADA).
The acquisition and installation of the launch was a collaboration of Causes for Change International (CCI), the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association (NWIPA,) and Access Miller Neighborhood Spotlight, and the City of Gary. The various organizations, united under the banner of the Barrier-Free Beach 2020 Planning Committee, got the project underway in November of 2015.
Major funding for the launch, in the amount of $25,000, was provided, in yet another demonstration of its commitment to the city of Gary, by the Legacy Foundation. Other significant funding was provided by the Miller Community Fund, Mortar Net Solutions, Gary Human Relations and through a GoFundMe account established for the purpose, many generous individuals.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson expressed gratitude to the Barrier Free Beach 2020 Planning Committee, city departments and to all of the participating organizations. Freeman-Wilson thanked the Legacy Foundation for their continued support of Gary. “The launch is excellent improvement and an added amenity to our park.”
June is Coastal Awareness Month. The annual Gary Clean Water Festival in its 12th year and is an event in recognition of Lake Michigan Coastal Awareness Month. Everyone is encouraged to get outside and to join in celebrating our Coast in beautiful Marquette Park.
The annual Gary Clean Water Festival featuring family fun including canoeing, kayaking, biking, creative arts, fitness in the park, presentations, fishing and hiking information and a Kids Play Zone will be held from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Marquette Park Lagoon Area 4. The Launch ceremony will start at 10:00 a.m. near the historic Marquette Park Pavilion, 1 N. Grand Boulevard.
For more information about the festival, contact Green Urbanism at (219) 882-3000 or via email: Bhenry@ci.gary.in.us. Zully JF Alvarado at Zully@CausesforChange.org may be contacted for information regarding the Launch ceremony.