* Sea kayaks
* Recreational boats
* Small whitewater boats for children
* Kayak maintenance equipment
To donate or loan equipment, call (423) 842-6629 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite losing most of the kayak fleet for the city’s OutVenture tours in a Hixson barn fire this weekend, “not having a program is not an option,” Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Administrator Larry Zehnder said today.
The biggest hurdle now is determining what, if any, of the equipment, which could reach a value of $100,000, is covered by the city’s insurance policy, Mr. Zehnder said. He said the estimated 35 boats destroyed, including at least eight brand-new whitewater kayaks designed for children, may not be covered because they were stored not in the central building but in the 50-year-old barn, which burned to the ground at Greenway Farm at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
“We’ll beg and borrow until we get the equipment,” said Marcus Hulsey, director of the OutVenture program. “The stressor is time is against us.”
Staff Photo by Lori Yount -- OutVenture officials are asking for donations and loans of kayaks after most of its fleet was destroyed in a Hixson barn fire over the weekend. The cause of the fire is undetermined.
The loss came at the beginning of the kayaking season for OutVenture, leaving little time to sort out insurance claims or city budget issues and buy new equipment, Mr. Hulsey said.
So, he said he’s asking the community to help. By this afternoon, OutVenture received loans or donations of six sea kayaks, but Mr. Hulsey said at least 18 are needed to continue the 15-year-old program, which makes paddlers out of anyone from a tourist to an inner city child involved in one of 15 Parks and Recreation centers.
“Our job is to get people outdoors,” said Mr. Hulsey, adding OutVenture has a full schedule of trips this season.
The cause of Saturday’s fire is undetermined, according to fire officials, and Mr. Hulsey said he expected the debris to remain until the investigation is complete.
Until the money source for rebuilding is figured out, Mr. Zehnder said the department will “improvise” to store equipment for the OutVenture program and provide space for maintenance that the barn once supplied.