Seal Beach officials cut ribbon for beach access mats

Mats make sand and surf available to everyone

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Seal Beach Mayor Joe Kalmick and OC Supervisor Katrina Foley present Annalyn, 8, with a birthday cake, at Friday’s ribbon cutting for the city’s new beach access mats.

For Annalyn’s 8th birthday, Friday, Sept. 17, she got to take her wheelchair onto the beach.

A gathering of city and county officials and guests sang “Happy Birthday” to her.

She also got a gift bag from the District Two County Supervisor Katrina Foley. A birthday cake was served on the sand, presented by District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick and the supervisor.

But going to the beach was the big thing, and the point of the gathering.

Shoreline sands present a challenge for individuals who use wheelchairs, walkers, or have difficulty walking.

Seal Beach recently became one of the cities that offers beach access mats, which allow disabled access to  the sand and the ocean lapping at the shore.

Last Friday, Sept. 17, local public officials and guests gathered at about 9 a.m. in the Eighth Street parking lot for a beach mat ribbon cutting ceremony. And to celebrate  Annalyn’s birthday.

Marine Safety (Lifeguard) Chief Joe Bailey said the positive comments his staff have been getting about the beach mats have been fantastic.

Bailey said coffee and donuts would be available, but to get them,  visitors would have to walk on the mats.

“This is really important for us as a society,” Kalmick said.

He thanked Supervisor Foley, her staff, and city staff for partnering to get the mats for Seal Beach. “Hopefully, someday, all the beaches will have them,” Kalmick said.

He invited everyone to come down to the water and enjoy the ocean “that we all take for granted.”

Foley brought her grandmother, 94, who also uses a wheelchair. This triggered a round of applause.

Seal Beach officials cut ribbon for beach access mats