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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Rochester is buying a track car to help people get around city parks

Rochester is buying a track car to help people get around city parks

Individuals with mobility challenges will soon be able to explore the 350 acres of Rochester's park system using an all-terrain track chair.

The city council voted unanimously Monday night to purse the purchase of a motorized track car. The goal is to establish a pilot program before deciding whether to buy additional vehicles.

"The idea behind this came from a youth commission member," said council member Ed Hruska, adding he has "heard from additional folks in the community that would like to get out and enjoy areas that aren't accessible to them at this point."

The council set a cap of $20,000 (potentially much less) for the purchase of the track car. The plan is for the parks department to manage the vehicle and transport it, if need be. 

"I appreciate Mr. Hruska and the citizens that brought this forward," said councilor Michael Wojcik. "I mean, this good. It gets kids out in the wilderness who might not otherwise be able to experience it."

The vehicle's wheels operate on a continuous track like a tank, allowing it to steer through bumpy and uneven terrain. This makes it an ideal form of transportation for park-goers looking to get off the beaten path.

Olmsted County already has two similar vehicles available for use at Chester Woods and Oxbow Park. They were purchased a couple of years ago with support from local veterans groups. 

Cover photo: Creative Commons

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