Veterans Memorial Stadium is now ADA compliant after years of renovations

    Renovations including spaced out seating are just some of the ways the city has worked with teams to make Veterans Memorial Stadium ADA compliant.

    Kernel fans with disabilities will find getting around the Veterans Memorial Stadium easier from now on as a multi-year face-lift is in its final stages.

    Signed by former President George H.W. Bush, the Americans with Disabilities Act aims to improve accessibility for everyone. After years of improvements, Veterans Memorial Stadium is now ADA compliant--a relief for many people across the city. One person sharing this sentiment is Cat Hafsi, who says without ADA compliant areas life would be different.

    "We pretty much would have to stay home or find other alternatives," said Hafsi.

    Hafsi has cerebral palsy and uses a walker. She says it can sometimes be a challenge to get around and in the stadium for people who use wheelchairs, but improvements at the stadium to meet ADA requirements are something she's noticed are helping.

    "They've been moving things around in the bathroom which makes it easier for people to use the hand dryer and the soap," said Hafsi.

    The stadium is nearing the end of a more than three-year renovation plan, to make the complex more inclusive. Bathroom amenities like soap dispensers, hand dryers, and sinks have been lowered to help anyone reach.

    "Entry doors, restroom doors, all that sort of thing...they've all been adjusted so that they're at the appropriate weight and door swings to meet ADA as well," said Jeff Koffron, the facilities maintenance supervisor with the City of Cedar Rapids.

    It's a complex-wide effort costing more than $220,000. All improvements are looked at and approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

    "We're going above and beyond what anything is that we've been asked to do by the Department of Justice and the agreement that we're under with them. We want to make sure that we're doing this the right way and that we make every one of our facilities accessible," said Koffron.

    More than being ADA compliant, Koffron says the city just wants everyone to feel at now and not feel like they have to be in their homes.

    "Disabled lives do matter and we want to be out in the community," said Hafsi.

    The city expects renovations at the stadium to be complete early next spring, after some parking spots in the lot are adjusted.

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