Woman raises questions about access to beach

Along the Jersey Shore, one woman is raising questions about access to a beach in Sea Isle City. The issue revolves around her 91-year-old father and his wheelchair. She claims it's not that the beach doesn't have wheelchair ramps. She's says they're too steep, making it extremely difficult for her to get the Navy veteran to the beach.

Karen Rodgers, of South Philly, thinks it should be a little easier to get her 91-year-old dad--a Navy veteran--to the beach in Sea Isle.

It's the raw power of the ocean and the sights that draws 91-year-old Edward Rodgers to the beach. His daughter wishes it were easier to get him there from her 55th Street Sea Isle City beach home. When the pair get to the 55th Street ramp, Rodgers--a pharmaceutical rep.--must turn into a stevedore. She pushes her dad in his surf chair up the ramp and hanging on.

"Both ramps are extremely steep so when I have to get under the chair to push him the weight and how steep it is makes it almost impossible," Karen Rodgers said.

Sea Isle does have at least six Americans with Disabilities Act approved ramps to the beach. 55th Street is not one of them.

Rodgers argues she has to travel several blocks to get to them. She says she doesn't have a pick-up for his chair and they're almost as steep. She wants Sea Isle to fix the ramp at the end of her street.

"Lower it. Get rid of the steepness. Have it easier for someone to access the beach," she said.

City officials say the dunes grew here under a multi-million dollar beach restoration effort after Hurricane Sandy. The ramps to the beach became became higher as well.

Sea Isle's business manager, who's spoken with Rodgers, says they're try to keep the sand at the 55th Street ramp packed-down.

"What we're trying to do is maintain it as best we can. To keep it as easy as possible from a hard-packed surface standpoint," he explained.

He says there are residents who were opposed to the six ADA approved ramps they do have, and adds changing the ramps is a heavy lift.

"Why can't you go to 55th Street with a backhoe and dig that baby out--flatten it?" FOX 29's Jeff Cole asked.

The business managers said, "If I was permitted by law I would do that. There is logic to excavate the dunes--but it requires a special permit to do."

The business manager seems to understand Rodgers problem. He suggests she call city hall and they'll come and push her dad. That's something Rodgers just may do.