With the summer’s heat upon us, thousands of area residents have flocked to Hempstead Town’s miles of pristine oceanfront beaches to soak up the sun’s rays and take a dip in the Atlantic’s waves. In order to ensure all beachgoers have the opportunity to fully enjoy Hempstead Town’s sandy shores, Supervisor Don Clavin and Councilwoman Missy Miller today announced the rollout of special beach mobility mats that provide wheelchair bound and other persons with disabilities a “way to the waves.” The mats, which have been installed at select Hempstead Town beaches, extend from the parks’ beach entryways to the water’s high tide line. The mats offer a smooth and steady surface for mobility impaired persons to safely access expanded sections of the beach as well as the ocean’s surf – helping these differently abled beachgoers overcome the usual difficulties associated with traversing over the sand. Supervisor Clavin and Councilwoman Miller were joined by Deputy Supervisor Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr., Councilman Thomas Muscarella, Councilman Christopher Carini, Town Clerk Kate Murray and Receiver of Taxes Jeanine C. Driscoll for the announcement.
“The implementation of these handicap accessible beach mobility mats will go a long way towards ensuring Hempstead Town’s shores can be enjoyed by all,” said Clavin. “America’s largest township is committed to fostering an inclusive environment at our parks facilities so that everyone can enjoy our township’s wonderful recreational offerings.”
“I am proud of the work Hempstead Town has done to support our township’s differently abled community,” said Miller. “As the mother of a mobility impaired child, I am elated that these newly implemented mobility mats now allow my son to join his loved ones in enjoying our hometown’s wonderful south shore beaches.”
The Town of Hempstead’s Beachfront Inclusivity Initiative has been spearheaded by Councilwoman Missy Miller, who has a long track record of advocating for Long Island’s persons with disabilities community. During her tenure as a member of the New York State Assembly, Miller worked tirelessly to ensure the voices of differently abled New Yorkers were heard in Albany, and collaborated with colleagues from across the state to shape government policy in order to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. As a Hempstead Town Councilwoman, Miller has pledged to make America’s largest township a model of inclusivity for municipalities across the country – the beach mobility mats are a major plank of her plan.
“The Town of Hempstead is not only America’s largest township, but we are also America’s most caring township,” said Miller. “I am determined to continue my advocacy on behalf of those with disabilities as a Town Councilwoman, and I am excited to work with my Town Board colleagues to build on the township’s earlier successes in enhancing the lives of differently abled persons.”
In addition to receiving the support and guidance of their colleagues on the Town Board throughout the beach mobility mat installation project, Supervisor Clavin and Councilwoman Miller were also aided by local girl scout Anna Nealon. Anna sought to center her all-important Girl Scout Gold Award project on improving the lives of differently abled persons, and recognized the need for mobility mats at the beach. The youthful advocate worked closely with Supervisor Clavin Councilwoman Miller in order to see the implementation of the mobility enhancing mats.
“The addition of these mobility mats at Hempstead Town’s south shore beaches will go a long way towards helping neighbors with disabilities enjoy an important aspect of what it means to live on Long Island – our incredible shores,” said Clavin. “We are going to continue seeking ways to improve the lives of our differently abled residents in all facets of Town government.”
The beach mobility mats are currently available at both Town Park Point Lookout, East Atlantic Beach and Atlantic Beach Estates. The signature blue mats extend from the end of the beach access walkways to the high tide line. The mats provide an accessible opportunity for those in wheelchairs to access expanded sections of the beach, and also provide steady footing for other mobility impaired beachgoers, such as those who utilize canes.