Kill Devil Hills hosts first fully handicapped accessible beach access

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KILL DEVIL HILLS, NC (WAVY) — Officials at Kill Devil Hills will launch its first fully handicapped beach access on Monday.

New improvements to the beach access include a disabled wooden ramp as well as several fixed position mats and treadmills to allow wheelchair entry onto the beach.

The new wooden ramp has been built to allow wheelchairs a quick and easy path from the car park to the beach access.

In addition to the ramp, the city has also purchased three additional beach wheelchairs for anyone to borrow and enjoy the water line.

According to the city Facebook page, the upgrades are dedicated to honoring former KDH Commissioner William “Bill” M. Pitt for his “strong community involvement and dedication to Kill Devil Hills”.

It took Kill Devil Hills years to come up with a plan to make the sand more accessible to people with disabilities.

“It’s really important,” said Ben Battaile of Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue. “It’s huge for the Outer Banks in general.”

The Ocean Bay public hotspot is now truly accessible. The city added a longer ramp and laid mats to help wheelchair users reach the sand. The changes cost the city $60,000.

“I think for some people to have access to this beach in this way is going to be life changing,” added Mayor Sheila Davies. “It’s an incredible investment. It’s an endless return on investment.

In addition to the sand changes, the city purchased four beach wheelchairs.

“There were questions about how to get a wheelchair on the beach,” Davies said. “Well, those wide wheels are really essential here to keep the base stable.”

It’s in the Outer Banks first. The hope is that this plan will roll out to other points not just in the Outer Banks, but also along the coast.

“We now have requests from Virginia Beach, Ocean City, Maryland and Delaware beaches,” Davies added. “I really hope it’s the spread of something bigger.”

Lifeguards believe this is a way to save lives without leaving the sand.

“Our main job is to put smiles on people’s faces,” Battaile said. “Saving lives is part of that, but our job is to make it fun for them and to make it safe.”

Everyone can enjoy these beach wheelchairs. All they have to do is call the Kill Devil Hills Ocean Bay Access Reserve ahead of time. The number is 252-480-0080.

A grand opening is scheduled for Monday, May 13 at 10 a.m.

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