Lido's Camp ANCHOR secures $1.5M for accessible restrooms


Lido Beach’s Camp ANCHOR, which serves 1,200 children and adults with special needs, will be outfitted with new restroom facilities accessible to all, thanks to $1.5 million in federal funding, according to Town of Hempstead officials.

Camp ANCHOR — Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Organized Recreation — has used temporary restrooms in the past, because it didn’t have enough permanent ones that were compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The federal money will fund the construction of six handicapped-accessible restrooms at several facilities, including the Sands on Lido Beach, which is next door to Camp ANCHOR and is the year-round hub for town senior enrichment programs. The camp and the Sands will each get one men’s and one women’s room in the same structure.

Camp ANCHOR is a year-round program designed to help its participants develop socialization skills, improve self-image and be a part of community life whenever possible, and is known for its summer camp and programs.

“Every year, my biggest cry is, ‘We need more bathrooms,’” MaryAnn Hanson, the camp’s director, said. “We have 650 campers here in the summer, we have 350 volunteers and 260 staff, and I can’t even tell you the low number of bathrooms, so this is going to be a huge help to us for our facilities, especially ones that are accessible to all of our campers. So, thank you so much and we’re looking forward to them.”

Town Supervisor Don Clavin, members of the Town Board and community members who use Camp ANCHOR’s facilities joined U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito on April 4 outside the camp for the announcement about the new restrooms.

“Lido Beach is a really special facility, because it has our ANCHOR program and our senior program, a program that is used by thousands of young and old alike,” Clavin said. “But today is about appreciation. We have about 1.5 million reasons to be grateful for our local congressman, as far as I’m concerned. As a result of hard work, we are going to have $1.5 million of ADA-compliant bathrooms placed not only here at Lido Beach’s Camp ANCHOR, not only at our senior facility right behind us that we see, but also in Henry Street Park and Roosevelt for our great residents.”

Any facility that serves the general public is required to comply with the ADA, and restrooms must have increased accessibility and support for those who are less mobile. They are required to have signage with raised symbols and Braille characters for the visually impaired. Inside there must be grab bars mounted on the walls, as well as toilets and sinks that are fully accessible to those using wheelchairs.

“When Don (Clavin) and I sat down and we talked to the Town Board, we thought about ADA-compliant bathrooms, and I thought back to the preparation that we’ve had,” D’Esposito said. “Many summers for the senior program, for Camp ANCHOR, we were renting ADA-compliant bathrooms so that we could grow programs and make sure more seniors and more of those differently abled were able to enjoy the programs that we had. We thought, what better way to spend this money than to permanently build and construct ADA-compliant bathrooms? Not only is it an investment in the Town of Hempstead, it’s an investment in our residents, and it saves us money down the road, no longer needing to rent bathrooms and prepare for each summer.”

The new facilities will be built closer to the recreational facilities that visitors use, making them more convenient.

“Disability, seniors’ needs and special needs don’t know (political) party, so it’s not a factor,” Town Councilwoman Melissa Miller, who has long been an advocate for those with special needs, said. “This is the result of when people work together across the aisle, they meet the needs of everybody that they represent.”

The federal funds will also be used to fund improvements at Henry Street Park, in Roosevelt. A multi-purpose field that is used by several youth leagues for a variety of sports throughout the year, the park has had fencing, pathways and lighting upgrades over the past two years, but the only restrooms currently available are rentals.

“This makes sure that we do what we need to do, putting in the right things that we need for our residents,” Deputy Town Supervisor Dorothy Goosby said. “So, thank you so much, we appreciate that.”