SEASIDE PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Handicapped access is available at beaches up and down the Jersey Shore, but some special needs parents point out that it does not quite get you far enough.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, a push has been launched to change that.
Most New Jerseyans agree that the place to be in the summer is on the beach. But for some, it is not as easy breezy as it could be.
“The thing for us we just want our kids to be able to do what every child does together,” said Erica Cirillo.
Most towns down the shore have beaches that provide for those with disabilities, but some say most ramps stop short and leave people in the hottest part of the sand. Such a ramp is found in Seaside Park.
“I think it’s a necessity,” said Danielle Dapuzzo. “We do not want to sit up by the dunes where it’s 100 degrees. Serafina loves water wind in her face.”
“For anybody that’s got wheelchairs, walkers or kids that just can’t walk with balance, they’re stuck here,” said Robin Grayer. “They can’t go to up to the ocean over there and get to enjoy what we get to.”
Jessica Krill, a mother of two special needs children who are mobile, has made it her mission to improve handicap access.
“I’d like to see mats that can go down closer to the water and actually can branch off like a T, so families don’t all congregate at the end of the mat,” she said.
A 20-foot beach mat costs about $2,000, and more than one is needed to reach the water.
Krill has started a fundraiser to raise awareness and money – and it is not just for special needs children.
“Even me,” said Carol Natoli, who walks with a cane.
Natoli would like to cool off in the ocean.
“It would be nice, like at Coney Island, they have a thing right from boardwalk right down to the water, where anybody with a baby carriage – because like, I can’t do sand!” she said.
The moms said they are not reinventing the wheel with their Beach Days for All effort, just helping to keep the wheels spinning toward fun in the sun for everyone.
Some towns do offer special beach wheelchairs, and most offer lifeguard assistance.