By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
LuAnn Kleemeyer was arguably the most excited person in town when she heard the Quincy Family YMCA would be installing an elevator this spring.
The elevator, which will be located on the northeast side of the YMCA complex at 3101 Maine, will allow disabled and handicapped persons more access to more parts of the multi-level facility.
Kleemeyer will be one of those to benefit. She is an amputee, having lost a leg in a June 2007 traffic accident.
"I'm very excited about this, because there are a lot of the (weightlifting, cardio and other) machines on the lower level of the Y I would like to use," said Kleemeyer. "Right now, very difficult for me to get down there."
Kleemeyer normally comes to the YMCA on crutches and then transitions to a wheelchair at the front desk. She has a prosthetic leg she normally leaves at home. The leg has computer software in it and cannot be around the wet or damp environments she would encounter at the YMCA, where she goes to swim. Even with the prosthetic leg, navigating the stairs at the YMCA is difficult.
"The Y has been very accommodating and I can't say enough good things about how much (chief executive officer) Mark Spiegelhoff and the staff tries to help," Kleemeyer said.
Kleemeyer also helps coordinate a local support group for amputees, which she thinks may be able to become more involved with YMCA activities after the elevator is in place.
Spiegelhoff said ground is supposed to be broken for the elevator in early April, weather permitting. The elevator will be an "addition" to the building. Construction will take place near the site's former lobby area, close to the gymnasium and some of the Y offices. Construction should be completed sometime this summer.
The $205,000 cost of the elevator will be covered by grants from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Equal Opportunity. The new elevator will allow the YMCA to become fully ADA compliant.
"This will benefit both current and future members' needs," Spiegelhoff said. "Along with those with disabilities, older adults and parents with young children will also find it much easier to get to all parts of the building."
The elevator will be the second major capital project of the year at the YMCA, which recently completed $75,000 worth of renovations in the women's locker room area. The project centered around converting what was an unused pool storage area into usable locker room space.
"This will provide needed extra space for a variety of pool users, in particular the water exercise class participants," Spiegelhoff said.
The renovation increased the size of the women's locker room area by about 350 square feet.
"The expanded space will help during the periods of heightened activity," Spiegelhoff said.
For more information about the projects or any YMCA service or program, call (217) 222-9622.