Opinion: Spend grant money to make Potsdam businesses handicap compliant, says West Potsdam resident
For years in the Village of Potsdam, ever since the Urban Renewal and fires of the 1960s, we’ve all heard that all the older businesses downtown are “grandfathered” and don’t need to be ADA compliant.
That is untrue – according to the website of Letitia James, current NY Attorney General, examples of public accommodations subject to ADA include all restaurants and hotels, retail stores and establishments. If you do a search for “ADA grandfathering”, there are no results on that website.So, the situation now is – Potsdam’s downtown has plenty of handicapped parking spaces, but no one in a wheelchair/walker can get in/out of most eateries if they are solo due to the lack of grading and/or steps w/no railings.
And remember that the ADA standard is not just for someone with challenges to be helped into a building, but that they can navigate on their own just like anyone else.
Add to that the fact that if you did get inside some of these locations with your wheelchair, you still couldn’t navigate properly due to stairs, narrow aisles, inaccessible rest rooms, etc.
I sincerely hope that at least some portion of the $10,000,000 grant for Potsdam is spent on bringing every single building and business in downtown Potsdam into compliance with ADA.
That would truly serve all the people of Potsdam and would be a real investment in the future.