Individuals in our society, who do not have a disability, carry with them a privilege that those who have a disability do not. We take advantage of this disability every day without realizing it. We do not worry about how to access a building. We do not worry about being able to use a restroom when we need to. We do not plan ahead to be sure we can enjoy everyday events like everybody else. My project is clear. To find an everyday establishment and audit its accessibility. In order to have a fair and accurate assessment I did this without this establishment or its staff's awareness of my report. My findings were remarkable.
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending my grandsons second birthday party. The party was to be held at Rumors Bar and Grill in Rice, MN. Upon pulling into the parking lot of this small town bar and grill just off of highway 10, I couldn't help but to immediately notice the handicapped parking spaces both clearly marked and positioned directly in front of the door. While there were no sidewalks or curbs of any sort the parking lot was completely tarred and at grade level. Thus being said, I was amazed to see that since I had last been there a couple years prior; the owner had installed a beautiful concrete slab ramp leading into the front door. The ramp which was nice and wide also had handrails on both sides. Although there wasn't any button on the front door I did notice that the bartender could easily see that door and I was assured by patrons that they have witnessed people more than happy to help out. The door which was the desired 36" door was easy to manage and easy to maneuver around. Walking around the building it didn't take me long to decipher that it would be extremely difficult to access either back door. The door leading from the lower level of the bar had a step a person would have to manage before accessing the outside patio area and the door leading from the newly built rear party room led to a set of wooden steps which appeared to be quite old and unstable. Upon getting a closer look I couldn't help but noticing the treated lumber under a rug which lied on top was not only rotting but the carpet was a tripping hazard. While there was a handrail it was extremely wobbly and I wouldn't trust it at all.
The only hallway I noticed at all was the hallway adjacent to the bar and kitchen area which led to the restrooms and back party room. The hallway, which was roughly 15 feet appeared to be just 36" at most. Although it was well lit and clear of all obstacles it was potentially a rough area as numerous patrons and staff members move through out the area. I did notice a couple fire alarms which were both audio and visual. I did not notice any Braille on any signs or anywhere else nor were there any elevators in this one story facility to report on.
Since this facility only had one set of restrooms I relied on my husbands help to check the men's room for me. Both bathrooms were similar in size and accommodation. The required 36" door requirement was met and doors were easily opened. However, both restrooms were on the smaller side and would be difficult, but not impossible to maneuver around. Both restrooms also had a handicapped stall available for use which was well marked with handrails. I did not notice any exposed hot water pipes under sink area although in all honesty my husband forgot to look and I can only presume both would have been the same. All soaps, dryers, sinks, etc were low enough to be reached. Water fountains at this facility wouldn't be applicable and I did not find any other than at the bar or brought out by the waitresses.
I was excited to see the entire lower level of the bar completely remodeled and easily accessible by all. The owner had installed a spacious wooden ramp into the rustic theme and incorporated sturdy handrails on both sides. It was not only functional but beautiful. Table height throughout the bar was perfect for wheelchair patrons and the areas between tables was more than accommodating. Overall, I feel this little bar and grill on the outside of town has made every effort to update there facilities to make their facility more accessible. With just a few minor adjustments to back outdoor areas all areas could be easily accessible and easily enjoyed by all.