Since beginning this series on the need to fast-track the construction of sidewalks throughout Coco, I’ve discussed the needs of those living here and the economic opportunities soon to be presented by the expected explosion of medical tourism. There is another group with even greater economic potential: those with mobility handicaps relocating here thanks to the new airport and our reputation for being a handicapped-friendly destination compared to others in the region.
Take Chris, for example, a retiree from northern Michigan in the U.S. Having lost the use of her legs because of multiple sclerosis, she depends on a variety of wheelchairs, a service dog and her husband, Charlie, to perform daily activities. While she had hoped the airport would be completed so she wouldn’t have to be taken off the plane “like a bag of potatoes,” she is enjoying her vacation in a development that offers smooth paths, no step access to the rental unit and a bathroom outfitted with special bars and seats (inexpensively available at the local Do It Center). She shops at Auto Mercado, which provides motorized grocery carts with seats and trains employees to assist shoppers with special needs.
Tom, an Iraq War veteran who lost both his legs, is considering moving to Coco for similar reasons. He has found the access to most restaurants and the consideration of the local people to be the major attractions, and is looking for a one-level home in the area where he can pursue his artistic interests while living as normally as possible.
As this series winds up, we’ll take a final look at where sidewalks need to go, the need for overall coordination and the ancillary factors that can benefit all, but especially our community.