When Cross Street Realtors principal owners Stacy Kendall and Joe Hickman knew they wanted to hire Ryan Scannell to join the tight-knight realty company, they also knew they would be adding an architectural change to their office on Cannon St.
A ramp for wheelchair access.
Scannell, like three million others who depend on wheelchairs for mobility, still finds access to some buildings in town a challenge despite the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In some cases, there may be a ramp up to business door only to be stymied by steps inside, a narrow corridor, or other obstructions. Restrooms may add additional challenges.
For Kendall and Hickman, the solution was easy: build a complete ADA approved ramp on the back of the building allowing Scannell easy access along with a wheelchair accessible restroom inside.
Richard Keaveney, Sales Associate at Cross Street Realtors sees the addition of the ramp as the necessary and right thing to do, and also to open up a town-wide conversation about accessibility.
“Both Joe and Stacy are problem solvers and obstacle removers on real estate deals for sure. I’ve admired their personal ethics and social consciousness since I’ve known them and believe it sets the tone of our small agency. Thankfully they have the means to do something, and I hope it moves our town forward as far as ADA access.”
“As you know most good projects are a group effort. For this one, Barton Ross, architect & designer, Zoning Administrator Kees de Mooy and Town Manager Bill Ingersoll at the town office, JT Thompson for the masonry work & Holman building for project management and the railing were all partners in accomplishing this, along with a special thanks to Chris Kendall for organizing it all,” Stacy Kendall says. “Also, any nonprofits who need an occasional meeting space requiring ADA access should give us a call.”
Across the street from Cross Street Realtors, Jenn Baker, co-owner with her husband John at Chester River Wine & Cheese Company, speaks from her own experience about wheelchair mobility saying that all of us should be thinking in terms of wider access not only for those in wheelchairs but for universal access and equality including the elderly and people with baby strollers.
While some confusion exists about how the ADA relates to pre-1990 buildings and how an older building might meet the requirement “that architectural barriers be removed in existing facilities when readily achievable,” the “readily achievable” can leave some building owners perplexed.
In the case of Cross Street Realtors, however, the solution was a no-brainer. “Ryan fast became part of our team, and it was important to do what needed to be done,” Keaveney says.