City raising money for handicapped-accessible Safety Town go-kart

October 12, 2018

HUNTINGTON — The city of Huntington is asking for the public’s help in raising money to buy a handicapped-accessible go-kart for disabled children at Safety Town.

Right now, second-graders with disabilities cannot participate with their friends in the hands-on safety lesson, which involves driving go-karts around a track built to resemble roadways, complete with traffic signals and stop signs.

“They would be able to come down to Safety Town, but not be able to drive like their peers could,” said Beau Evans, Region 2 Highway Safety coordinator. “A lot of times, the schools just made them stay at school.”

The cost of one handicapped-accessible go-kart is $12,000 from J&J Amusements in Salem, Oregon. A typical Safety Town go-kart costs about $1,700.

So far, the city has raised $6,000 thanks to donations from the Brady Steps Charitable Foundation and the Dutch Miller Auto Group, Evans said. Now the city is asking for the public’s help in raising the remaining $6,000.

The Mayor’s Committee on Diversity and the City of Huntington Foundation has turned to the crowdfunding website Red Basket to raise the remaining money.

As of Wednesday, the campaign had raised $770 of its $6,000 goal with 33 days remaining.

Evans said donations made toward the crowdfunding campaign are tax-deductible and 100 percent of the money goes toward purchasing the go-kart, which has been a goal for many years.

The special go-kart is larger than the others, providing a second seat for a teacher or aide to ride along. The pedals on the child’s side are also adjustable to suit everyone’s needs.

The go-kart, just like the other electric carts at Safety Town, will have a remote control off-switch in the event of an emergency, Evans said.

To donate to the campaign, people may visit RedBasket.org and search for “Safety Town.” They may also follow links posted to Safety Town’s Facebook page by searching for “Safety Town — Huntington, WV.”

Evans said in the future the city intends to use a PayPal account or similar crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Safety Town.

A few goals include sponsorship for children who are home schooled or summer camp groups, he said.

Safety Town, built in 1974, recently underwent a $20,000 renovation including a new coat of paint, new carpet, new tiling and remodeled restrooms. They also put in new desks, new whiteboards and a flat-screen TV, among other improvements.

Evan said the entirety of Safety Town is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act standards, including its restrooms. The handicapped-accessible go-karts would be one step closer to full inclusion for everyone, he said.

Travis Crum Is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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