- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - The Ferris wheel in Davenport has been renovated to allow people with disabilities to enjoy a ride.

One of the Ferris wheel’s gondolas at the city-owned Modern Woodmen Park has been widened enough to accommodate a rider in a wheelchair and a second rider, the Quad-City Times (https://bit.ly/25bVC1q ) reported.

Davenport resident Bruce Beyer said he expected to be able to ride the Ferris wheel when it opened in 2014, but he soon discovered it didn’t have a proper loading ramp or accessible gondola for his wheelchair.

“I sat there the first night and thought, ‘Wait a minute; I can’t get on this,’” he said. “That’s how the ball got rolling.”

The manufacturer, the city and River Bandits management agreed to redo the Ferris wheel gondola after Beyer and two other men with wheelchairs - Mitch Swanson and Gary McDermott - told the Davenport Civil Rights Commission that the Ferris wheel didn’t fit Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

“I was with Mitch at the ballgame, and we decided to see if we could take a ride,” said Gary McDermott, who is chairman for the city of Clinton’s ADA commission. “Unfortunately, we were not able to access the Ferris wheel.”

Manufacturer Chance Rides had assured the commission that the ride would be built to standards, but an investigation found several deficiencies, Commission director Latrice Lacey said.

Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch said last week that the city desired to be more “inclusive.” A philanthropic arm of Genesis Health System agreed to cover the costs to fix the Ferris wheel.

“They did the right thing,” Beyer said. “It should be a great thing from this point forward.”

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Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com

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