The City of Richfield received Trail Blazer Award
On Monday, April 22, Ward 2 Councilmember Edwina Garcia accepted the Trail Blazer Award on behalf of the City of Richfield at the TRAIL annual meeting.
TRAIL provides transportation for adults with developmental disabilities living in Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and Richfield. The nonprofit organization transports riders to recreation, leisure and educational programs offered by Adaptive Recreation & Learning Exchange (AR&LE).
All programs are specifically designed to meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities, providing the independence to enrich their lives, mentally, creatively and socially.
“TRAIL does a great job at assisting adults with developmental disabilities in gaining increased access to city programs, community events and other services,” said Councilmember Edwina Garcia. “As a city, we are proud of our adaptive recreation and learning exchange programs. TRAIL riders participate, learn and enjoy the programs offered."
The Trail Blazer Award has been presented since 2016 and is conferred to individuals or organizations in recognition of their passion and commitment to supporting the independent spirit of TRAIL riders and AR&LE programs.
Transportation is expensive and its cost can be prohibitive to some residents who are interested in accessing city programming.
The average TRAIL rider would have to pay at least $10 per round trip to attend an AR&LE program if they were paying a market-rate price. However, because of TRAIL, riders only pay $2 per round trip.
Plus, TRAIL bus drivers provide door-to-door pick-up and drop-off, as well as assisting in the transportation of personal recreation equipment, such as bowling balls and golf clubs.
Last year, 136 of TRAIL’s 214 bus trips involved bringing riders to Richfield programming, including bowling, cardio fitness and walking club.
“TRAIL enables riders to be more active and social in the community,” explained recreation supervisor Ann Jindra, who overseas Richfield’s adaptive recreation programming. “Transportation is a common barrier for residents with disabilities. TRAIL helps remove that barrier.”
TRAIL is the recipient of one of Richfield’s social services grants, which enhance municipal services by partnering with local nonprofit organizations.
Annually, the City of Richfield provides grants to nonprofit organizations totaling more than $70,000. These grants range in value from $500 to $16,000.
Since 2012, TRAIL has received $21,975 from the City of Richfield in the form of social services grants.
“The funding TRAIL receives through the social services grant program makes a significant impact in the lives of our riders,” remarked TRAIL president Michelle Veith. “We strive to offer as many buses as possible to riders interested in accessing city programming. However, without the assistance of grants, like the one we receive from the city, we would either have to offer reduced services or raise rates on our riders.”
Two of TRAIL’s busiest riders are both Richfield residents. During 2018, Richfield resident Andy utilized TRAIL transportation 119 times, which won him the designation of top rider. Another Richfield resident, Gretchen, came in third with 109 rides.
“It is not uncommon for half of our AR&LE program participants to be TRAIL riders,” said Jindra. “These riders are an integral part of every adaptive program we offer. Our programs would not be thriving without the assistance of TRAIL.”
To learn more about TRAIL visit: www.ridetrail.org
For more information about Richfield social services grants, visit: www.richfieldmn.gov/departments/community-development/human-services