Photo by Diane Cox
The ramp at the back entrance of the Alton VFW Post 1308 will have to be replaced to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A memorial brick fundraiser is financing the project.
ALTON — The Alton VFW Post 1308 building was constructed in 1970 and provided veteran members with disabilities a ramp from the parking lot to the building entrance. New regulations are requiring the construction of a new ramp.
“The Americans With Disabilities Act deemed the Alton VFW rear entrance ramp as non-compliant,” VFW Office Manager Becky Willmore said. “The ramp has been here more than 40 years. It’s wide enough but the angle is considered too steep by new standards.”
To raise finances for the newest requirement from the ADA, the VFW is selling memorial bricks that will surround the new ramp once it is completed. The cost for a standard-size brick is $50, while a 12- by 12-inch brick is $300. A logo can be included on the bricks.
“The new ramp has to have a couple of sections that are completely level for those in wheelchairs to stop while on the ramp,” Willmore said. “It will be extended into the side yard area and will then turn down into the parking lot. The bricks will be placed around the ramp along with some nice landscaping. Some families have many people who have served so they’re listing everyone on a 12-by-12 brick together.”
Willmore said the VFW received bids on the project, which will cost $20,000 to $35,000. Lewis and Clark Community College has saved the VFW money by doing some of the work. YouthBuild, a program housed at the new Scott Bibb Center in Alton, also has assisted the VFW.
“YouthBuild came out and removed all the shrubbery and cleaned out the side area,” Willmore said. “Lewis and Clark Community College has been a lifesaver. Their construction program has come out with engineers and did some of the beginning stages of the work. We hope they may be able to help with building the entire project. Working with Lewis and Clark would be great way for everyone to get something out of this situation.”
There is no timetable to buy a memorial brick and the fundraiser is open to the public. Blank bricks will be laid in spaces not sold to allow for future purchases.
The VFW previously has remodeled the bathrooms to comply with ADA regulations and the restrooms provide a large space that allows easy access for a larger wheelchair.
Contact the VFW Post at (618) 466-6883 or mail a memorial brick order form and payment to Alton VFW Post 1308, P.O. Box 3071, Alton, IL 62002. The order forms are available here.