Good access is good business. This is what the Accessible Communities Team (ACT) in Durango has been promoting for the past year.
ACT is a collaboration of organizations including the city of Durango, Community Connections Inc., Southwest Center for Independence, Adaptive Sports Association, Durango Chamber of Commerce and the Durango Business Improvement District. ACT’s goal is to help businesses become more accessible to everyone.
The city of Durango provided a grant to ACT in 2015 and again in 2016. The grant allows businesses who want to improve access at their stores to receive a free accessibility assessment. The grant also can pay half of the costs of any improvements.
In 2015, almost $25,000 was invested in improving businesses access through ACT. ACT found that most needed improvements are simple and inexpensive.
Making a business more accessible to everyone can help improve the bottom line. Changing the pressure on a door hinge, installing a different door handle, putting out a sign telling people how to get inside if there is a barrier, installing rails in bathrooms, or just widening the aisles opens up stores for more customers.
Making these simple improvements oftentimes will open a business for people in our community who are in a wheelchair, either permanently or temporarily. They can help someone on crutches, and even a parent with a child in a stroller, to access our great businesses.
Downtown Durango has its challenges with accessibility because of the historic buildings. Even so, ACT has found that minor improvements can be made at low cost. Up to half of the improvement costs can be paid for through this grant.
ACT is currently seeking businesses that would like to know what can be done to improve accessibility. ACT will pay for an accessibility assessment, which will then create a written plan of simple improvements that can be made. Upon completion of any improvements, ACT will issue a check for up to half of the costs of improvements, with a maximum reimbursement of $2,000.
Interested businesses should contact me at either 375-5068 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. After an initial phone call and meeting, ACT will help arrange a convenient time to conduct the assessment. Our goal is to assess as many businesses as possible before mid-June, when our busy tourism season starts. Then we hope to assist businesses with improvements in the early fall.
Good access is good business!
You can also learn more about ACT and its work at BID’s monthly Coffee and Conversation meeting, to be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. May 13 at First National Bank of Durango. To keep up with information about downtown and north Main Avenue throughout the year, sign up for BID’s weekly E-News. To sign up, text DURANGOBID to 22828 or go to DowntownDurango.org and click on the Communications tab.
email@example.com. Tim Walsworth is the executive director of the Durango Business Improvement District.