Kayak launch

Members of the Potawatomi Paddlers Association say installation of the accessible kayak launch will greatly assist all individuals to more fully enjoy the benefits of the Kankakee River.

MOMENCE — The Potawatomi Paddlers Association, a nonprofit organization, recently announced that it has been awarded a $500 grant from the Iroquois Federal Foundation toward the effort to create an accessible kayak-canoe launch on Island Park in Momence.

The Iroquois Federal Foundation provides financial support to charitable and community service organizations in the communities in which Iroquois Federal operates as part of its mission. The foundation has identified five areas in which it supports community initiatives, one of which is general community improvements — programs and projects that improve the assets and organizations in the bank’s core market areas.

Development of the accessible kayak launch is part of that mission. Working in cooperation with the Momence Park District, the paddlers association has raised more than $20,000 of its goal of $35,000. Construction on the project hasn’t yet begun.

“We’re still in the fundraising stage,” said Frank Koehler, president of the PPA. “If we can narrow that gap, then we can get to work on that this year.”

Cornerstone Engineering, of Bradley, will be doing the site engineering, Koehler said.

The PPA has kicked off a new raffle for the summer. First prize is a kayak roof rack from Pacesetter Truck Accessories in Bourbonnais. Second prize is a $250 gift card from Stock and Field in Watseka for purchase of a kayak, paddle, and personal flotation jacket. Third prize is a Swagman contour roof rack from U-Haul; and fourth prize is a gift card from Meijer of Bradley.

Also, the PPA will have a booth at the Kankakee Farmers’ Market on July 25 and Aug. 8. There, market participants can donate to the project, purchase raffle tickets and get additional information.

Raffle tickets are $10 each or three for $25. Because the absence of festivals and events due to the pandemic lessons opportunities to interact with community members, anyone interested in purchasing raffle tickets can go to the PPA’s website, KankakeeRiverPPA.org, and click on the “Raffle” to purchase tickets using PayPal. Raffle tickets will be mailed.

The PPA was formed 2017, following the designation of the Kankakee River as a national water trail, one of only 22 rivers in the country with that designation. The mission of the PPA is to provide safe and environmentally sensitive recreational use of the Kankakee River national water trail and to expand recreational opportunities for paddle sports, leave-no-trace camping, and other non-motorized activities by all people.

The paddlers association says paddling is a low-impact activity that improves cardiovascular fitness, improves muscle strength, increases torso and leg strength, and reduces the risk of wear-and-tear on joints and tissues.

For more information on the PPA and its summer raffle, visit KankakeeRiverPPA.org.

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