ELK RAPIDS — A push toward increasing public beach accessibility for people who use crutches, walkers or wheelchairs may help Michigan Lake Products break out of its seasonal business cycle.
“We’re really banking on this helping out the company in a significant way,” said Greg Welch, Michigan Lake Products general manager. “We think our potential for growth is really wide open at this point because of the potential market we’re looking at with the walkway systems. We see it as a new venture that’s on an upward growth curve. We’re just looking to capture as much as possible.”
Michigan Lake Products has offices in Indian River and Elk Rapids. It opened in 1990 after president Jack McAvoy saw a need for fabricating, selling and installing dock systems, boat lifts and other marine products in northern Michigan. Last year the company worked with the Disability Network of Northern Michigan to overhaul its vinyl walkway, which provides a rigid path for people to access public space on sand, snow and playgrounds. The company made the walkways easier to use and install.
“Not only have they created this product that allows people with disabilities access to the water, but they also have actually talked to our volunteers who use wheelchairs and have disabilities to figure out the best way to engineer their products, which is really nice that they’e getting feedback from their customers to makes sure the product’s safe and it works well,” said Disability Network Director of Development Annie Campbell.
Campbell said an Adawalk path will be installed in Traverse City’s Bryant Park in June. It will be similar to the paths at Clinch Park and Traverse City State Park.
“(Adawalk) is a harder surface so it’s a little easier for people to use on wheelchairs if they’re using their hands to move,” Campbell said. “It also is able to have landing areas so people can hang out on the beach a little easier.”