The completion of the Bluemont Hill Scenic Overlook-project largely by Manhattan Kiwanis Club members about two to three weeks ago has provided Manhattan with a new handicap-accessible platform at one of the more well-known attractions in the area.

The project started about a year ago as part of a celebration of Kiwanis International’s 100-year anniversary.

“Since that’s sort of our area, we decided that every time we’re up there painting or cleaning it, there’s always people up there and you kind of have to be a mountain goat once you reach the steps to negotiate things,” Kent Foster, the community service chairman for the Manhattan Kiwanis Club, said. “So we thought an overlook platform that would be accessible to anyone would be a great addition.”

Since the platform’s installation, there have already been positive reports of it’s accessibility.

“We have gotten feedback already that there have been people that have had a disability be able to go up there and that’s the first time they’ve ever been up there, to look out over the Manhattan layers and see that nice scene up there,” Rod Kalivoda, the president-elect of the Manhattan Kiwanis Club, said.

The platform also includes a glass railing that provides safety while also allowing anyone on Bluemont Hill to sight-see even if their line-of-sight is below the top of the railing.

Even with the completion of the platform, the Manhattan Kiwanis Club has had discussions about further additions to Bluemont Hill.

“There’s a local trail society and we want to improve some of the trails up there,” Foster said. “Maybe even a playground or something out in the parking lot.”

They are also considering adding benches, binoculars for sight-seeing and a trail head.

“We will be putting together some type of trail head leading back there that will give more history in regards to the Manhattan hill,” Kalivoda said. “Also, it’ll award us a chance to give a little history on how that Manhattan sign was built at that time.”

The Manhattan Kiwanis Club put in the original Manhattan sign on Bluemont in 1927. They have been taking care of it ever since.

For more information about the project, visit manhattankskiwanis.com.

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