PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - Every year, thousands of people travel from all over the country to the white sandy beaches of Panama City Beach, but not everyone is able to enjoy them as easily as others.
Thanks to some new equipment, Bay County is hoping to make the "World's Most Beautiful Beaches" more accessible to all.
"People can come out here and they know that their loved ones and every body can have the same experience," said Tabitha Kimball, Bay County Beach Operations Supervisor.
They're called Mobi-mats and they make the sand around the county pier a little more sturdy for people using things like wheelchairs, walkers or strollers.
"You can come all the way down and go all the way to the water," said Kimball.
The county has more Mobi-mats and they plan to continue the path under the pier and then back up to another wheelchair-accessible beach access on the other side.
They didn't stop with just the mats. The county also bought Mobi-chairs.
"You can use them on the sand. You can also use them in the water. We've tested them and tried them. We've had the lifeguards use them. They're very skilled in it, so they've gone out quite far, but they handle very well. They float very easy," said Kimball.
The county spent $50,000 on the mats and two chairs to start.
"We plan on next season growing, looking at grants and other things like that to help up grow and make this bigger," said Kimball.
They're working to make Panama City Beach more ADA-compliant and enjoyable for all its visitors.
"I want someone to be able to get to experience the exact same thing that I get. The luxury of being able to just walk out there and go and get in the water. Sometimes we take for granted how easy that is, and this makes it so they can actually do that," said Kimball.
The two Mobi-chairs are on the ramp on the east side of the county pier and are free for anyone to use.
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