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NC beach towns work to be more wheelchair-accessible

Posted July 29, 2015

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— Beach trips for 38-year-old Kelly Kennedy have never been easy. Kennedy's cerebral palsy makes it necessary for her to use a wheelchair - a piece of equipment that is nearly impossible to operate on the sand.

On Tuesday, Kennedy was able to dip her toes in the water at Wrightsville Beach, according to the Wilmington Star-News. Her journey to the water was made possible by a large, beach-friendly wheelchair owned by the town.

Officials in New Hanover County said they have made their beaches more wheelchair-accessible in recent years, most notably with the big-wheeled chairs.

"We have five and more of them are out the entire summer," Wrightsville Beach's Parks and Recreation program supervisor Katie Ryan said.

Carolina Beach also owns eight chairs and Kure Beach owns five.

Eric Jelinski, Parks and Recreation director for Carolina Beach, said working to comply with ADA regulations was a priority for town leaders.

"We've had tons of good feedback on that," he said.

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  • Jason Starcommand Jul 30, 2015
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    It's great that wheelchair-bound beach goers can now have the same chance of getting bitten by a shark as others. But it may be harder to get away in a wheel chair. I'm thinking of inventing a shark cage that will fit over the chair.