Award-winning Idea: Chamber Helps Local Businesses with ADA Compliance
An award-winning idea from the 2015 Chamber Innovation Award competition:
BREAKING NEW GROUND FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
FACT: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses and non-profits to accommodate people with disabilities on an equal basis with the rest of the public. ADA is law, not a building code.
MYTH: Older facilities are “grandfathered” in and only new construction needs to be accessible.
The Readily Achievable Barrier Removal Plan
Marshall, MN has a large population of people in wheelchairs compared to cities of similar size.
When a number accessibility-based, ADA lawsuits were filed against local businesses, the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce went into action.
The Chamber came up with a plan to help businesses meet ADA requirements and improve the city’s overall accessibility. They worked with the city, the state, and advocates for independent living to implement the plan.
- drafted an information packet for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal Plans.
- worked with businesses to develop a plan focused on parking, accessibility, shopability, and awareness.
- provided matching grant assistance for improvements.
- supplied businesses with marketing materials to communicate their program participation.
Instead of just sending information and hoping a business would take the initiative, the Chamber provided support. In just four months, they helped almost 50 businesses.
As a result, the Marshall Chamber has an increased awareness of accommodating disabled citizens and plans to continue the program.
Information on starting a Readily Achievable Barrier Removal Plan is available through the ADA National Network.
See more award-winning Chamber program and event ideas. Download Chambers of Inspiration Idea Book, Vol. 2 to learn what they did (and how they did it).