First ADA accessible fishing piers are being installed in Cedar Rapids

It's part of a $2 million package to meet federally mandated projects on the city's southeast side to make them accessible to those with special needs.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 4:13 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The city of Cedar Rapids is taking steps to make sure anyone can cast a line in the water, and fish. They’re in the process of installing three ADA-compliant fishing piers, and they’re being built right now at the Prairie Park Fishery.

Fishing is a sport loved by many, and for some, it’s more of a lifestyle.

“I was in a boat at 6 months old,” Michael Jonesi, owner of Hookset Bait Company in Solon, said.

The bait shop opened in March just about 15 miles from the Prairie Park Fishery, where the area’s first ADA-accessible fishing piers are going in.

“Having a sister you know with special needs and us growing up together you know I could kind of see where some of these issues would align you know in some of these places where we would fish growing up,” Jonesi said.

Ally Jonesi has autism. Fishing is something she loves and she’s pretty good too.

“Most days when I take her out during the week she out fishes me, my wife and Ally get after me pretty good,” Jonesi said, with a laugh.

Soon, Ally and others who live with special needs will be able to fish a whole lot easier.

“The piers themselves will go out over the water 3 feet, so they can go out over the water and still be safe, we’ll have railing all the way around it,” Jeff Koffron, Facilities Improvements Project Manager at the City of Cedar Rapids, said.

It’s changing the game.

“You know there’s a lot of areas where people can’t access, fishing is pretty hard to do because of the steep banks and so forth,” Koffron said.

The piers will be a new destination for those who love to fish, or anyone who wants to reel in a new hobby.

“Fishing and the outdoors don’t discriminate, we want it to be available for everybody. And the fact that the steps are being taken for that to happen somewhere so close to us and for the community I think is huge,” Jonesi said.

The piers should be complete sometime in November, so people should have the chance to use them yet this year.