CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) -- Only four of this city's 141 businesses are in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, but advocates are emphasizing the positive.
The Cedar Disability Action Team recognized a Maverik Country Store and The Pizza Factory for going out of their way to design special accommodations for the disabled in new construction.
"For people with disabilities, to have a parking space right next to the doorway that is clearly marked, not only with the painted blue symbol on the ground but an upright sign posted, it does a lot to help us get into businesses more conveniently," Cedar Disability Action Team board member Dave Christopher said Friday.
Christopher, who sits on a city project review committee, said owners of new Maverik store "did it right." They sought his advice beforehand on rules for curb cutouts and one disabled parking space for every 25 spaces.
Maverick owner Jody Weiner also installed an intercom at gas pumps. She said the store is "open, airy and friendly and easily accessible for all customers, not just those who can walk, but to everyone."
Disability Law Center advocate Kathy Kessler said 12 percent of Iron County's population -- or 4,123 people -- are disabled. She said businesses that ignore ADA guidelines could be liable for breaking the law, and are cutting themselves short on loyal customers and profits. ADA guidelines can be enforced in civil actions.
The Pizza Factory sought a new location after one of its owners, Bill Kringlen, was confined to a wheelchair with cancer for the last six months of his life.
"He realized he couldn't eat in his own restaurant because it wouldn't accommodate his wheelchair and he gained a great empathy for people who are in wheelchairs because of that," said Chris Weaver, co-owner of pizza shop. "As much as he loved where the restaurant was, he really wanted it be accessible to everyone because we like our whole clientele, from the high school kids to the grandpa and grandmas."
Information from: The Spectrum, http://www.thespectrum.com
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)