Residents battle with proposed wellness facility for those with disabilities

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A woman who helps those with disabilities enjoy Miami Beach now faces pushback from residents in the area.

Twice a month, there are no barriers along Miami Beach to keep those with disabilities from soaking up the sun and getting in the water. “Have that freeing experience, there’s nothing like it,” said Sabrina Cohen.

Cohen, who runs the Sabrina Cohen Foundation, created the adaptive beach day and is looking to expand her idea to last all year round with a new waterfront facility.

“Designed to create an all-inclusive experience,” said Cohen, “welcoming people with all types of disabilities.”

Cohen wants to continue making the beach accessible and add a wellness facility.

This has been a four-year process for Cohen, with the initial proposed area near Collins Avenue and 64th Street. But environmental concerns from city officials stopped the idea from coming to fruition.

On Wednesday, Miami Beach commissioners are expected to consider a new plan that would allow the two-story, up to 10,000 square foot facility to be built on city property.

With this new proposal, the Sabrina Cohen Foundation is expected to raise the money to build and operate the new facility.

However, not everybody in the city is on board with the plan. “Our issue is the location and the process,” said Mid Beach Neighborhood Association member Michael Gongora. “We’re taking public lands that are being used by a particular neighborhood. The neighborhood should still have a voice.”

Gongora is encouraging neighborhood meetings before a decision is made. Cohen said the spot she chose is the only spot capable of hosting her facility.

“It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said Cohen. “This is something that’s really beautiful and will have a profound impact on peoples lives.”

Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.