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Heated Battle Brewing To Allow Disabled To Reach The Beach

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There's controversy brewing in Miami Beach over a project to help Floridians who often feel overlooked to reach.

Miami Beach City Commissioners met Wednesday for a heated debate over the disabled having access to the beach.

"Extremely emotional and overwhelmed," said Sabrina Cohen, representing the Sabrina Cohen Foundation. "I'm so proud of my city that we've been fighting this for a long time."

Dozens of people with disabilities packed the commission meeting where commissioners were considering a proposal for a management agreement to build a privately-funded adaptive recreational center that would allow the disabled greater access to the beach.

Opposition to the proposal, from the community and some commissioners, is not the idea of creating greater access but the construction of a building in a parking lot at 53rd Street. There was also concern that the project has not properly been vetted.

"I'm looking at signs that say 'Beach Access for All' but I'm looking at a 20-page term sheet that Commissioner Steinburg is even expressing concern about because that's about managing a rehabilitation facility," Commissioner Michael Grieco said.

Homeowners said they want their input to be taken into consideration.

"A lot of the citizens have not been heard, there has been zero public outreach," said Rosa DeLaCamera, who is representing home owners. "All we're saying is come talk to the owners, come listen to the compromise they're willing to make."

Finally, a compromise was struck. It would give the Sabrina Cohen Foundation the green light to raise funds. In the meantime, it sends the management agreement to a finance committee where it will be vetted before moving forward.

"I think we actually had quite the victory today," Cohen said. "We will work every which way we need to with the city to make this work. So I'm okay with where we're at. It's a thumbs up to continuing moving forward."

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