TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. — Thanks to a donation, Treasure Island is now home to the first wheelchair beach bike path in Pinellas County.

  • MobiMat RecPath installed a few weeks ago
  • 400-foot path donated by Gator’s Café and Saloon
  • Official ribbon cutting for path is next week

The new MobiMat RecPath makes it possible for people in wheelchairs to travel across the sand. The 400-foot-long path cost more than $21,000 and was donated to the city by Gator’s Café and Saloon.

The restaurant’s general manager, Tom White, told us it took his corporate office less than two days to approve the funding.

“It’s expensive, but for the community it’s a very good thing to do, and like I said, disabled kids need a place to be on the beach and have fun and enjoy the weather, just like we all do,” White said.

One of the children already benefiting from the new path is 15-year-old Jimmy Ortiz, who suffers from a rare genetic condition that leaves him wheelchair bound.

Ortiz’s parents told us prior to the path they hadn’t been able to bring him to the beach in years, and now he loves making the trip.

“This opens up the world for so many people, and I just think it’s going to be an amazing thing,” said Ortiz’s mother, Samantha Hernandez.

The city plans to host an official ribbon cutting for the new MobiMat RecPath next week.