What's News in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

Therapeutic Recreation Bus
On Monday, March 2, the Pleasant Prairie Village Board awarded a $101,609 contract to Illinois Bus Sales for a new low-floor bus for use by the Village Therapeutic Recreation Program. The bus will be used to transport youth and adults with special needs and offers an “easy-on” feature. The Village sought a way to transport clients with special needs to and from the Therapeutic Recreation programs in a way that meets the needs of the clients. For some clients with disabilities there is only limited access to transportation.

In August of 2007, the Therapeutic Recreation Department, applied for a grant to purchase a bus for transporting clients. In late 2007, the department received a grant through the New Freedom Bus Grant program for 80% of the cost up to $68,000. Since early 2008, the Village has been working with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to establish specifications for the bus, which meet the grant requirements, and to solicit bids. The specifications for the bus called for a low-floor design. The low-floor design eliminates the need for steps and for a separate electronic lifting unit. The Village sought this design to reduce maintenance costs and downtime associated with repair and replacement of an electronic lift assembly. Of equal importance to the Therapeutic Recreation Program, the low-floor design allows for a more efficient boarding and de-boarding of passengers.

“This becomes more important with inclement or extreme weather,” explained John Steinbrink Jr., Superintendent of Public Works for the Village. “With a lift, passengers must wait for staff to lower the lift, load the passenger onto the lift, raise the lift, unload the passenger from the lift, secure them safely, and then repeat for each passenger. With a low-floor design, staff can wheel one passenger immediately after another onto the bus and secure them safely.” During extreme heat, cold, wind, rain or snow, the low-floor design will reduce the amount of time that passengers with special needs will be exposed to the elements while waiting to board the bus.

Two bids were received for the bus. One bid submitted for $76,880 did not address the requirements outlined in the specifications. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Procurement Division is currently reviewing the other, submitted by Illinois Bus Sales. Along with the grant monies, the Village Therapeutic Recreation Program will cover the remaining cost for the purchase and operation of the bus with client fares, revenue generated from the lease of land for cellular towers, and with proceeds from the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon.

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