Restrooms for all in Town of Hempstead


Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, members of the Town Board and community members joined U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito outside of Camp Achor in Lido Beach on April 4 to announce the availability of $1.5 million in federal funding to build six handicapped-accessible restrooms at several town facilities.

A portion of the money will 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 available restrooms currently are rented bathrooms.

“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.

Another facility the funds will benefit is Camp Anchor — Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Organized Recreation — a year-round program serving 1,200 children and adults with special needs, which is known for its summer camp and programs. Camp Anchor has used temporary restrooms in the past because it didn’t have enough permanent ones.

The Sands on Lido Beach, next door to Camp Anchor, is the town’s year-round hub for senior enrichment. It will now be able to build permanent restrooms that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate the large number of seniors who use the facility.

“Lido Beach is a really special facility,” Clavin said, “because it has our Anchor program and our senior program, a program that is used by thousands of young and old alike.

“But today is about appreciation,” Clavin added.

"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.”

ADA-compliant restrooms offer enhanced accessibility and support for those who are less mobile. Any facility that serves the general public is required to meet ADA requirements, with 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 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.

“Every year, my biggest cry is, ‘We need more bathrooms,’” MaryAnn Hanson, camp anchor’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.”

“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.”