AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

VIDEO: Activist thanks Jekyll Island for new wheelchair mats, calls for more

A month ago, we told you how a Marietta woman has been raising a major fuss about wheelchair access at Jekyll Island, claiming “Georgia’s jewel” discriminates against the disabled.

Janis “Widget” Richards took a few trips there earlier this summer and got fired up when she saw wheelchair mats covered in soft sand and ending way short of the hard sand that wheelchairs riders need. She took photos, contacted  several powerful political figures and filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

After her most recent trip to Jekyll, though, Richards is saying thank you in a YouTube video addressed to Jekyll Island Authority Executive Director C. Jones Hooks.

Even though the authority insists it’s always been in compliance with federal law, changes have been made because of Richards’ campaign. As much as 40 feet of matting has been added at a beach access point near the convention center.

Richards’ video shows how Mobi-Mats can make a difference for folks on wheels, including her 89-year-old mother-in-law who uses a walker:

That was shot during their trip to the Shrimp & Grits Festival last weekend.

As the video shows, Richards is grateful, but far from placated. She’s still pushing for more access to the beach from hotels, such as the Days Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, and the Westin. She's even looking at Driftwood Beach.







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About the Author

Johnny Edwards is a member of the AJC’s investigative team, focusing on the private sector and state and federal regulation. He has worked at the newspaper since 2010.