The city's Parks Department hopes to build a handicap-accessible path like this across North Beach next year to make it easier for people to reach the water. A sample of the path - this one manufactured by Mobi-Mat, was laid out on the beach this week for people to try out.
It'll be a lot easier to cross North Beach next summer if the city's Parks and Recreation Department gets its way.
The department is requesting money to build a portable walkway across the beach to allow people in wheelchairs to reach the water. The handicap-accessible vinyl path, used on beaches around the country, also would help parents with strollers, children, the elderly and anyone else enjoy the beach, said Donnie Snow, head of the parks department.
"Even people without disabilities will be able to get out to the beaches easier," Snow said.
A sample of the walkway (see photos above and below) was laid out on North Beach this week. The path created a clear path on top of the sand to walk on. If money comes through, the city would install a full 600-foot path from the North Beach Oasis to near the water's edge, Snow said. It would also consider a "T" intersection close to the water to allow people to spread out along the beach.
The path has already received support form the public. During this week's parks meeting, Snow distributed nine letters he received in support of the path. Many of the letters were from parents who enjoy using the beach, but often struggle to walk with their children from the parking lot to the water.
The main obstacle to installing the walkway - it simply lays on top of the sand and is staked into the ground - is the cost. Snow plans to budget $40,000 for the path in this year's capital budget. He admitted given the economy and the city's budget challenges it may be difficult to find the money. But he intends to try, because it would be another improvement to North Beach, one of the city's best resources.