What’s the Big Deal With A Button?

When I was a little kid growing up in Kalamazoo, one of my first strong memories was impressed upon me. My mother had me in tow as she ran errands downtown. We walked along the sidewalk on a beautiful spring day when I came face to face with a ragged, bearded man perched on a wheeled palate. I recall being startled because he was an adult and upright but his face was at the same level as mine. He winked at me as my mother and I passed him and I remember that he smelled funny.

Several yards further along I asked my mother why the man was on a board. “He doesn’t have any legs,” she answered, “he lost them in the war. “How does he get around without legs?” I asked. “And why does he smell funny?”

I don’t remember the entire answer she gave me but I do recall that it occurred to my young mind that it must have been pretty difficult, without legs.

Fast forward to the 1980s and the arguments about the Americans with Disabilities Act (and our similar state legislation). The issue had become pointed, once again, following the terrible casualties incurred in the Viet Nam conflict.

Eventually, building codes were altered and accommodations mandated. Today a number of statutes and guidelines are in effect and compliance can be confusing. Questions such as the date of construction and use of a building are mixed with other issues, even as basic as definitions.

If you have a question regarding the ADA give our real estate team a call. Remember, the expense for that button with the wheelchair on it doesn’t just fall on property owners.

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