CAROLINA BEACH — In an effort to make the beach and boardwalk more accessible for everyone, the Carolina Beach Parks and Recreation Department has rolled out the potential beach access of the future.
Yesterday afternoon, Parks and Recreation announced that after listening to both residents and visitors alike, they would be launching an extended demonstration of the “AccessDeck,” a system of durable polyethylene panels, designed to give traction and a stable platform for handicapped or disabled individuals.
Eric Jelinski, Director for the Carolina Beach Parks and Rec., says the AccessDeck test is part of their Towns ongoing efforts to make the beach 100 percent handicap accessible.
The process began several years ago with the Island Women Foundation, who helped organize the successful beach wheelchair program offered through the department.
Now, according to Jelinski, other beaches, like Wrightsville and Oak Island, are looking to Carolina Beach to see what the best options are for extending handicapped access in their own areas.
The department describes the system as a “strong and non-slippery panel system designed for outdoor accessibility needs. The ‘AccessDeck’ offers a wheelchair, pedestrian friendly, non-slip tread design to guarantee a safe and comfortable access way while still providing a traction resistant surface for vehicles and equipment.”
The town has installed twelve of these interconnecting panels from the Cape Fear beach access, located off the Carolina Beach boardwalk, down close to the high water line.
AccessRec, the company that created the “AccessDeck,” says that each panel weighs 69 lbs., and is 4 feet by 6 feet wide. They can handle up to 80 tons, allowing emergency vehicles to pass over them without risk of damage.
The panels are designed with versatility in mind, and can be easily reconfigured for a variety of situations. The town plans to utilize this capability if implemented long term.
The “AccessDeck” will be tested until at least Aug. 9, and the town is seeking public feedback on the project. If you would like to have your opinion heard, or to receive more information, contact the Carolina Beach Parks and Recreation Department at (910) 458-7416, or email Director Eric Jelinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.