Long wait over for handicapped customers who want to shop at Cathy's Closet in Pratt

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
The Pratt County Economic Development Board and Independent Organization of Odd Fellows (IOOF) joined forces to pay for a new handicapped accessible ramp in front of Cathy's Closet thrift store installed last week downtown Pratt.

Cathy's Closet at 322 S. Main Street in Pratt was closed for several days last week, but it was for a good reason. A long-awaited, handicapped-accessible ramp was installed by Arensdorf Construction at the front door of the thrift shop, and that put a smile on a lot of faces, especially owner Cathy Abbott.

"I've been requesting help from the city for this for about four years now," Abbott said. "When the downtown revitalization on sidewalks was done, my store did not get the assistance because our front is set back about a foot from the edge of the sidewalk. It's been a battle to get this fixed but I feel really blessed that we now have this done."

Abbott said she was already getting comments from customers who were so glad to be able to drive their scooters and wheelchairs into the store, and she said bringing furniture in the front for resale will now be made easier.

"We still have the caution tape up because we are waiting on hand-rails to be installed," Abbott said. "But the new ramp is wide enough that we can wheel our dollies up and turn them through the door no problem. This is such an improvement."

City of Pratt Public Works Director Russ Rambatt said he agreed the project should have been done four years ago, but the set-back doorway caused a problem. Like Abbott, he is very grateful to have had assistance from the Pratt County Economic Development Board to upgrade the entrance to meet liability standards.

"This was just a good way for the economic board and the city to support a local business owner to improve access for their clientele," Rambatt said. "It needed to be done."

The Independent Organization of Odd Fellows club in Pratt also helped finance the accessibility ramp improvements.