The City of Warren’s initiative to help its businesses become disability-friendly that begins this week is the first city program of its kind in Michigan.
The program called All-Access Warren, and initiated by Mayor James Fouts, and endorsed by the city’s Disability Commission, features visits by trained volunteers, mostly high school students, who visit businesses to conduct an accessibility survey.
“The important aspect of this program is that businesses are not penalized in any way if they don’t agree to be evaluated,” said Mayor James R. Fouts in a statement. “This is not an American Disability Act-enforced program but the criteria is ADA-recommended.” Added the Mayor.
The accessibility assessment covers parking and approach, circulation and seating and entrance and restrooms.
The program was developed with assistance from Career Directional, Inc. and is implemented by Gregory Murray, the city’s diversity coordinator, who said the free survey will take 10-15 minutes and only cover areas in business establishments that are open to patrons, not areas off-limits to customers.
“Our goal is to help local businesses become more disability-friendly,” stated Gregory Murray. “Also, we hope this program is a model for other cities.” the city’s diversity coordinator added.
Businesses that are scored 75 percent or higher in accessibility will be recognized on the Disability Commission’s website and in the city magazine mailed quarterly to all residential and business addresses.
Warren Mayor James R. Fouts said the first area to be surveyed is Hoover Road from 8 Mile to 14 Mile. “We have identified 242 potential businesses in that area to contact,” added the Mayor.
Visits by the media at a site to be assessed can be arranged by calling Gregory Murray at 586-574-4669.