La Crosse parks and rec official hails Trane All Abilities Park as ‘spectacular’

Park to open to public June 3, after June 2 grand opening

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Jim Flottmeyer sets the expectations bar high for the Trane All Abilities Park, which will open to the public June 3.
“You’re gonna be amazed. The park is spectacular,” Flottmeyer promised during a La Crosse Park Board meeting Thursday.
Invitations to the June 2 grand opening of the park at 1500 Chase St. will go out next week, said Flottmeyer, project specialist with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The Trane All Abilities Park is the region’s first park designed specifically to beckon children, families and loved ones of all ages and ability levels to enjoy outdoor play and recreation.
Finding parks and playgrounds that are more accommodating has become easier for people with partial physical challenges in recent years.
However, individuals with cognitive, sensory or other physical challenges haven’t had a place designed to meet their specific needs until now. The park’s website notes that an estimated 12,190 people older than 5 in La Crosse County have a disability. That is 12% of the population.
“Children and adults with special needs benefit from an enclosed play environment where they can safely explore and play with others of varied abilities,” the website predicts. It is “a community within a community that can bring together individuals of all ages – from toddlers to seniors – and all abilities to experience the simple, everyday joy of outside play.”
In another action Thursday night, the Park Board unanimously approved the design for the Miller Bluff Trail project and Bluff Pass Trail improvements.
The property lies between the Miller Bluff Lookout Vista and Lower Hixon Parking Lot.
The Outdoor Recreation Alliance plan’s final draft stipulates: “The aim is to provide the best experience for trail users and avoid disturbance of the native species found within it.”
The project also will reroute and repair the Bluff Pass (Road) Trail.
The plan underscores the importance of avoiding damage to native plants in Miller Prairie.
The Miller Bluff Trail begins at the Lower Hixon trailhead and crosses the gully just below the Vista trail before wrapping below the Milson Prairie rock point. The route continues below the Milson Prairie ridgeline to the north and crosses a parcel swapped with the Culp family and ends with a connection to the Miller Bluff lookout trail.
Aspects of the roughly 1-mile trail include:

  • It is within city of La Crosse property boundaries.
  • It intersects and ties into the existing Bluff Pass Trail.
  • The route does not use the Vista Trail bridge.
  • The Miller Prairie boundaries and protected species would be avoided.
  • In conjunction with repairing the Bluff Pass Trail, it will create a bidirectional loop for hikers.