PCB offers wheelchairs for beach and pier use
Buster Pate remembers the little girl's request brought tears to his eyes. She could not walk on her own but desperately wanted to go to the beach.
"I have never had my feet in the ocean," the 13-year-old told the Beach & Aquatics maintenance worker.
"You will today," Pate responded.
The Russell-Fields Pier is home to four wheelchairs, two standard chairs used by visitors on the pier and boardwalk, and two with oversized inflatable wheels which can go through the sand and to the water's edge. They are available free of charge and can be checked out at the pier.
Pate said the chairs are used daily by all ages. They are as popular with children as they are with senior citizens. Some people just want to go to the water and back. Others spend two to three hours on the sandy beach with the chair. Lifeguards sometimes help users navigate the handicap accessible ramp and get to the water.
The city has utilized the chairs for about two years in an effort to have the beach accessible to everyone. "It's a very popular amenity we have. We do have to remind people sometimes not to leave the premises. They are meant for beach use," Pate said.
The city purchased the two beach wheelchairs and brought one standard chair from Frank Brown Park. The fourth chair in use was donated.