BRADENTON, Fla. — Manatee Public Beach is now wheelchair accessible.

A 100-foot-long mat at the Holmes Beach location is the most recent initiative by the county to meet accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What You Need To Know

  • Manatee Public Beach is wheelchair accessible with the installation of a 100-foot mat

  • It's the most recent initiative by the county to meet accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act

  • At the end of the mat is a 12-foot-wide area for wheelchair

  • Depending on how the mat performs we could see more mats at other beaches in the county according to Manatee County

Miller Diamond is a Bradenton resident who recently used the wheelchair-accessible mat at Manatee Public Beach. He was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy when he was 12 years old.

He’s overcome so much over the years, battling a disease that there’s no cure for. Even a simple task like picking up a pencil can be tough. Now, he is 27 years old and focused on finishing his first book.

“It’s about dragon people,” he said.

He says dragons are his favorite creature, because he can use his imagination to have them do anything possible.

“You can do anything you want with them. You can make them however you want them to look with your imagination,” he said.

Miller and his family moved to the sunshine state 5 years ago, and some of his medications can lead to brittle bones. But his mom Michelle Diamond says sunshine therapy helps Miller’s bones stay strong.

To their surprise, many of the nearby beaches weren’t wheelchair accessible.

However, when they heard that Manatee County just installed a 100-foot mat at Manatee Public Beach, they had to check it out.

“This beach being accessible for people like Miller that are in a wheelchair, who can’t transfer to a beach wheelchair, to get to enjoy this incredible view. This is awesome. I’m going to cry,” she said.

At the end of the mat is a 12-foot-wide area for wheelchairs, so people like Miller can enjoy the beach.

“I don’t have to worry about getting stuck in the sand,” Miller said.

His mom Michelle was very excited about the beach day she says it’s a long time coming.

“For him, this is a game-changer. This is a life changer. This is access to what all these people have access to now he can access it,” she said.

Changing Miller’s life for the better and giving him the freedom to appreciate a day at the beach.

While the family had a great day at the beach, they are hoping there will be extenders off of the mat so Miller can enjoy the beach closer to the water.