Clintonville Lions Club building wheelchair ramps
For the Clintonville Lions Club, a part of their serving the Clintonville community is building and installing wheelchair ramps for residents who have limited mobility.
The on-going wheelchair ramp service project was started in 1999 under the leadership of Lion Al Mattson, who is still today one of four members who volunteer their time to the project.
Currently Lion Ralph Williams, under the continued guidance of Mattson, provides the organizational leadership to the service project.
Other club members regularly involved with construction and installation are Lions Lowell Easley and Jerry Oestreich. Several other club members provide occasional assistance.
Over the years since 1999 the Clintonville Lions have installed a total of 35 ramps in and around the immediate Clintonville area. Many of these ramps are still in use.
“This year has been an unusual year,” Williams said. “We usually install two to three ramps per year, but this year, since the first of the year, we have installed seven ramps, with four of them in just the past five weeks or so.”
He also indicated that another installation is about to happen and that they just received another request.
Williams said that each ramp is custom made to meet the needs of the particular building site. He said some are as short as eight feet, while others have been more than 40 feet. The longer ramps occur, he said, when site conditions require one that is U-shaped.
“All wheelchair ramps are built in compliance with the specs of the American With Disabilities Act,” Williams said. “This means, for example, they have no more than a 1-inch incline for every 10-inches of length, or, in other words, a ramp that needs to reach a height of 24 inches off the ground will be at least 24 feet long. Also, wherever a ramp changes direction a 4-foot-by-4-foot level landing is required so that a wheelchair can be turned safely.”
The ramps are assembled off-site in sections framed with 2-inch-by-6-inch pressure-treated lumber and covered with 5/4 deck boards, Williams said. The sections are then bolted together on-site and are supported, as necessary, on 4-inch-by-4-inch posts which are placed on a solid surface such as a sidewalk or a cement paving block. Railings are constructed with 2-inch-by-4-inch posts and 1-inch-by-4-inch rails and bolted to the sections.
“Material costs for the ramps generally run between $25 and $30 a lineal foot,” Williams said. “For those that are able, we ask that they pay for the purchase of the materials or at least contribute towards their cost.”
Williams said that all ramps are installed as temporary structures and that recipients sign an agreement that when the ramp is no longer needed it will be disassembled and materials reclaimed by the club. The reclaimed sections are stored and used for future installation requests.
Williams also noted that the club accepts donations of used ramps in good condition, built from treated lumber framing lumber, and covered with deck boards.
“The use of reclaimed ramp sections and that of donated materials helps reduce the material cost for people with financial need,” Williams said. “Financial contributions help those who can’t afford paying for the ramp materials are also most welcome and useful.”
Contributions of materials and money can be made by calling Williams at 715-823-4778.
The Clintonville Lions are always looking for new members. Those who would like to get involved with the wheelchair ramp service project or any other of the club’s community service projects are encouraged to contact membership chairperson Lion Mary Dobbe at 715-823-6982 or membership committee member Lion Jill Meyer at 715-823-2658.
To learn more about the service projects and other activities of the club, visit its Facebook page “Clintonville Lions.”