CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — $50,000 of the capital infrastructure plan has been allocated to improving accessibility along the Kickapoo Rail Trail.
The Champaign County Forest Preserve intends to put that funding toward developing a prototype for a solar charging station for powered wheelchairs.
Executive Director Mary Ellen Wuellner said the need for a charging station had not been on the district’s radar until someone who used a powered wheelchair wrote to the office, explaining she could only go a couple of miles on a full charge.
“So if there’s a way to provide additional charging along the way, that would be great,” Wuellner said. “That would allow them to get out more, to get more miles on the trail, get further, see more sights, that sort of thing.”
The district is still researching ways to develop the technology, the feasibility of such a project and the cost of a charging station. Wuellner said the district hopes the cost falls within the $50,000 budget, so the remainder of the funding could go toward improving other amenities along the trail, such as adding more directional signage.