$25,000 grant aims to make southern Colorado equally accessible for people with disabilities

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The Independence Center partners with Colorado Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities and ADA Services and Plans (ASAP) on a project to make southern Colorado more accessible for people with disabilities, including a $24,500 grant.
For the month of June, the Independence Center is kicking off the “Better Access is Better Business” campaign.
ASAP will provide businesses with compliance assessments during the month of June, and business owners will get a complimentary step-by-step plan on how to become ADA compliant. Surveys of parking elements are free to 100 businesses in June. 
FOX21 spoke to two men who said this is a vital program to our community.
For Tim Ashley and John Monteith it’s not as simple as parking wherever you see a spot. Access aisles are key, and they urge people to keep them clear at all times.
“When somebody is using a wheelchair or a walker and so-forth, they need that space adjacent to that parking space to go ahead and unload their equipment,” Pat Going, ASAP consultant, said.
“People aren’t educated to the fact that these stripes are there for a reason, and that reason would be for people like me that need the full extra space of room to be able to turn the wheelchair to line up with the ramp and go up,” Ashley said.
“I need that space,” Monteith said, “That’s the only way I can get out, because that access aisle allows me to deploy my arm and it helps me to deploy my wheelchair for me to visit that store.” 
This project hopes to provide equal access to businesses allowing for more money to spent in our area. 
“If they wanna shop, if they wanna participate, if they wanna go buy ice cream, or go to the museum, or go to the library, they have to be able to get in the door,” Patricia Yeager, Independence Center CEO, said.
“If you just make some simple changes, or the business does, it creates an avenue where people with various disabilities can get in,” Monteith said.
Interested business owners can contact Teri Ulrich at 719-357-6654 to have their business added to the survey list. 

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