The search committee for a chief diversity and inclusion officer was tasked last November with identifying an innovative and inspiring leader who would work collaboratively to create a more welcoming, diverse, accessible and inclusive community. Nearly 200 talented individuals expressed…
Which downtown restaurants are accessible to people with disabilities? SU Center receives grant to find out
Which downtown restaurants are accessible to people with disabilities? SU Center receives grant to find outJune 22, 2006Rebecca Russornrusso@syr.edu
The SU Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies received a $12,000 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to fund the first year of a multi-year project, Project Accessible Syracuse, to research accessibility of buildings in Syracuse. The first year will focus on downtown restaurants. Project Accessible Syracuse is a joint project of the Center, the College of Law’s Disability Law and Policy Program and the Disability Rights Clinic, and local disability organizations that seek to increase accessibility for people with disabilities in Syracuse.
The first part of this project will be to produce a publication titled “Project Accessible Syracuse: A Guide to Accessible Downtown Restaurants,” which will rank 100 restaurants according to their compliance with accessibility laws. The rankings are based on surveys completed by SU students and community volunteers of 100 restaurants in downtown Syracuse. This free guide will be distributed to the public. The guide will serve as a tool to begin educating restaurant owners and the downtown community about the requirements of accessibility laws, ways to provide or increase accessibility and possible funding sources or tax incentives available for necessary modifications or renovations.
According to Arlene Kanter, Meredith Professor of Law, director of the Disability Law and Policy Program, and co-director of the Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies, the group will assess the restaurant’s compliance according to established federal accessibility standards.
“If the businesses are not in compliance, we will help them to learn not only what they have to do to comply with the law but also how they can go beyond compliance to be more responsive to the needs of all their customers, including people with disabilities,” says Kanter. “We hope that Project Accessible Syracuse will become a model to other cities nationwide.”
The center will partner with ARISE, Aurora, Enable, Legal Services of Central New York and the Community Foundation on this project. The grant from the Central New York Community Foundation is made possible by the John F. Marsellus fund.