Wilmington City Council approves purchasing adaptive sport wheelchairs for students

To pay for 12 sport wheelchairs and a shipping container to store them, city council is considering an ordinance to use $55,000 in grant funding.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 4:44 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Wilmington Parks and Recreation Department currently borrow sport wheelchairs from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, but they want a standard set of their own.

To pay for 12 sport wheelchairs and a shipping container to store them, city council unanimously approved an ordinance to use $55,000 in New Hanover Community Endowment grant funding. The department has already been awarded the NHCE grant, and the ordinance will move the funding to allow for the purchase.

“A lot of people say, ‘oh well I’m not playing basketball’ and we kinda explain to them like ‘this is real basketball, it’s just adaptive’ right? And I think that’s one thing that we teach kinda like, to show the respect to adaptive sports” said Davis Center Athletic Coordinator Devonta Dest.

The ordinance says that much time, money and effort is spent attempting to transport the wheelchairs from UNCW to the city’s community centers and figuring out whether or not the wheelchairs are available to use.

They can be used for inclusive basketball, tennis and pickleball programs. Athletics staff also plan to partner with Special Olympics program staff and UNCW’s Recreation Therapy Program to offer programming at city facilities.

The ordinance will be considered at the council’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24.