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Miami Beach okays beach facility for the disabled

The city commission voted 6-1 in favor

An aerial of a portion of Miami Beach where Sabrina’s Adaptive Beach takes place
via Sabrina’s Adaptive Beach

This post was updated with the most recent information on Monday, August 7

Miami Beach commissioners approved the construction of a new two-story structure at a parking lot at 53rd Street and Collins Avenue that will serve as a permanent beachside facility to assist in allowing people with disabilities to swim at the beach.

It was a 6-1 vote, per the Miami Herald.

Currently the Sabrina Cohen Foundation holds twice-monthly events called “adaptive beach days” at the Allison Park beach access that provide equipment and trained staff to aid those folks in going for a swim. Yesterday marked the first such beach day since the structure was approved.

The building would remove 20 of 139 spaces, and store bulky equipment while also housing therapy programming. The height limit for the 5,000-square-foot space is 24 feet.

SCF will raise the money, estimated to by $4.5 million, and the city will develop it. A previous proposal two years ago fizzled and the most recent efforts continued to face opposition from locals.

“My specific concern is that we are benefiting special interests and limiting the right of the general public to use the beach and the park,” said resident Diana L. Rodriguez at a public hearing in April.

Others have spoken out harshly about the proposal, arguing that people with disabilities should be in a pool, not the ocean, that having them in the water would be a liability to the city, and that the facility would limit the public’s access to the beach.

The foundation has three years to raise the funds needed.

Commissioner Michael Grieco, who didn’t feel comfortable voting yes without review of the logistics, was the lone no vote.