Horry County looks to make the beach more wheelchair accessible

MYRTLE BEACH, SC-     One of the many perks of living on the Grand Strand is easy access to the beach; however, it’s not as accessible to people in wheelchairs.

Terrel Rawson is an avid surfer, but he rarely gets to take advantage of the waves because the majority of beach accesses in Horry County are not handicap accessible.

“We either have to drag him backwards or the last time we were there, four guys lifted him up and carried him into the water,” said Terrel’s mother Melody Rawson.

They’ll sometimes rent a beach wheelchair for $25.

“My son usually has to sit on the boardwalk or he doesn’t come to the beach with us,” she said.

Horry County is applying for a Coastal Access Grant, which would help purchase access mats and beach wheel chairs.

“Words cannot even describe the difference it would make in somebody’s life if they’ve never been to a beach,” said Rawson.

The Coastal Access Grant is awarded by the state to coastal jurisdictions through the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (DHEC-OCRM).  The grant application must demonstrate a public recreational benefit and have minimal environmental impacts.

According to Community Development Planner John Danford,  the intent is to have wheelchairs at multiple county maintained beach accesses.  They will be stored in a locked box and the code will be given to anyone who calls in advance seeking to use the chair. Danford said the grant wouldn’t cover all of the beach accesses, so they’re also discussing “mobile” boxes.”

“It could be worldwide, people could be coming here from other countries just because we have this accessibility,” stated Rawson.

Horry County is seeking public letters of support to send along with the application. The letters must be delivered to Horry County’s Planning and Zoning Department no later than Friday, September 18. See address below…

John P Danford

Horry County Government

Planning & Zoning Department

1301 2nd Avenue Suite 1D09, Conway, South Carolina 29526

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