Communities honored for supporting disabled
Silver Palmetto Awards go to Rock Hill, Hilton Head Island
From staff reports
Copyright The State

The town of Hilton Head Island and the city of Rock Hill have won this year's Silver Palmetto Awards for exemplary support of people with disabilities and their families.

The S.C. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs presents the award annually to a South Carolina government that has had the greatest impact on the lives of people with disabilities.

Local governments faced difficult times last year, said Linda Kidd, chairwoman of the agency's commission.

"In spite of this, Hilton Head Island and the city of Rock Hill have worked to keep people with disabilities at the top of their lists," Kidd said.

Hilton Head Island in August 2002 installed beach matting -- called Mobi mats -- at the town's Coligny Beach Park. The matting, manufactured in France, often is used on European beaches to allow wheelchairs onto the beach.

Jason Davis, who has been in a wheelchair since 1998, said the mats took him onto the sand.

"This is the closest I've been to the water in years," he said.

The project cost about $14,000 and was paid for by accommodation taxes. The town is considering expanding the project to other parks.

The city of Rock Hill, through its Parks and Recreation Department, helped establish and is the major sponsor for The Merry Pranksters Theatrical Group.

The troupe is made up of 20 actors with disabilities and 20 actors without. Last year, the group's performances sold out in Rock Hill, Greenville, Columbia and Sumter.

The Disabilities and Special Needs agency provides services to people with mental retardation and related disabilities, autism, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury.


http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate...al/5363539.htm