As a part of their Access for Everyone Campaign, Disability Network has collaborated with community members to raise funds to make the beaches at Bryant Park in Traverse City and Camp Petosega in Alanson accessible in early June through the purchase of beach pathways. Ribbon Cuttings for the projects will be held on June 19 at Bryant Park and June 27 at Camp Petosega. Both events will take place at 10:30 a.m., and all community members are invited to attend.
Faith Dunshee, a Petoskey native who uses a wheelchair, exclaimed, “I can’t wait to put my toes in the water at Camp Petosega! I’ve been camping there for years, and I’ll finally be able to hang out with my friends and family on the beach.”
Jeanne Esch, a Traverse City resident, shared “I'm so happy that Bryant Park will be accessible. It's an active park with people of all ages enjoying picnicking, swimming, and a wide variety of activities. To be able to join family and friends ON the beach rather than watching from a grassy area makes going to Bryant Park really fun for everyone, including those of us with mobility challenges.”
The beach pathways will enable individuals the freedom to spend time on the beach at their leisure. Jeanne explained, “We all want independence. Even a young child can be heard to say, ‘I want to do it myself!’ Being able to go to the beach on a quiet morning for a moment of peace, or to enter a business and complete errands without asking for help, versus waiting while someone does ‘for us,’ offers a level not just of independence but of confidence.”
Michael Estes, the Mayor of Traverse City, and his family fully supported the Bryant Park Beach Access Project. “It is surely the desire of our community to provide access for all to our beaches. Improved access at Bryant Park should be especially beneficial as the distance from handicapped parking to the water’s edge is not excessive, and therefore possible, for many, who otherwise have issues dealing with the beach,” stated Mayor Estes. “Our son Vincent is ambulatory and many times we've experienced difficulty in dealing with access to the water. Vincent and all individuals who are ambulatory should be afforded the same access to the water as those who are non-ambulatory,” he shared. “Traverse City is a giving and caring community that has a long history of assisting those in need. Increased accessibility is just one way of enhancing the lives of individuals who otherwise are precluded from enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Accessibility will benefit both our residents and visitors,” he explained.
The beach pathways will be installed by Michigan Lake Products, who donated a generous portion of the funds toward the Camp Petosega Beach Access Project. Although both beaches will be accessible in early June, Disability Network hopes to finish raising funds to purchase a mobi chair for Camp Petosega. The chair will enable individuals with mobility barriers to float safely in the water, and will be available free of charge to guests visiting Camp Petosega.
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