I wrote this to the editor of the Stone County Leader, a local weekly paper. It appeared Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
Stone County Leader
104 W. Main St
Mountain View AR 72560
To the editor
Mountain View is a prime place to live for so many people. Some people have been here for years, generations maybe, and would never live elsewhere. Retirees and others choose it not just for its beauty and cultural attractions, but for its reasonable cost of living and overall congeniality of the folks who live here.
One drawback of rural life and life in Mountain View in particular is the lack of handicapped accessible merchants, businesses, events and public buildings.
If all of the public cannot enter a business, attend an event or get to a government office, we all lose. Businesses lose money, events lose attendees and government buildings lose taxpayers, jury members, license seekers or just folks who need to do town or county business.
As our disabled veterans return from war, they find services or businesses impossible to access. Recently Ozarka College hosted a workshop for its students to become more knowledgeable about the plight of disabled veterans. The veterans in attendance were unable to enter so many businesses and restaurants in Mountain View.
It’s not just senior citizens or veterans that can’t access services, but also the child in a wheelchair, a father, a wife, or one of your relatives who uses a walker who has to stay behind.
To address the problems with accessibility in Arkansas, I have started a blog pointing out the accessible buildings and also the ones that are inaccessible because of their entry problems. Read it at Accessiblearkansas.blogspot.com. See if your business is accessible to all.
I firmly believe that if the town can address these problems, the results will be beneficial everyone. Businesses will make more profits, events will have more attendees and government offices will be welcoming for folks who need to tend to things there.
As a mobility impaired person, I find I cannot enter many businesses I would love to browse in, many events I cannot attend. In fact, I can’t even get in the courthouse for any reason. I am certainly not alone. Many folks, especially as we age, share the same limitations. But all of us believe that being treated as a second class citizen in Mountain View does not reflect the overall welcoming feel of this town. I don’t like being one of the people left behind.
The American Disabilities Act has been in force for 25 years. C’mon, Mountain View, you can welcome everyone with just few changes.