In an effort to address the needs of Louisville residents with disabilities and improve accessibility in many historic commercial structures in Metro Council District 8, Councilman Brandon Coan today announced that his office has partnered with the Department of Economic Development to create a dedicated revolving account that will loan up to $5,000 to businesses located in the district, already seeking the city’s accessibility loan program, to help pay for bigger and more accessibility improvements.
“The District 8 Accessibility Loan Program is part of my strategic objective to improve equitable access to the built environment,” said Coan. “Many Highlands-area businesses are hard to navigate for people using wheelchairs or otherwise having limited mobility. I hope local businesses will take advantage of this opportunity to improve their properties, expand their customer bases and make District 8 an even more welcoming community.”
To be eligible for the loan, the business must be located in District 8, be approved by the Metropolitan Business Development Corporation (METCO), the city’s board that governs small business loans, and be used on a project already borrowing $15,000 from METCO. The loan will be matched up to $5,000.
The city’s accessibility loans are offered to commercial property owners for the purpose of making buildings more accessible to people with disabilities. The loans are restricted to ingress and egress improvements, including but not limited to: accessible paths of travel, doors, handrails, threshold adjustments, and restroom updates.
“The Accessibility program is an important tool for improving the accessibility for everyone in our community, and District 8, anchored by many historic buildings, is ripe for these improvements,” said Scott Herrmann, Director of Economic Development. “Councilman Coan’s partnership with METCO is a testament to the city’s commitment to improving accessibility and furthering the vitality and quality of life in the Louisville community.”
The Center for Accessible Living has agreed to provide pro bono Accessibility Surveys to applicants seeking to take advantage of the new loan program. The surveys identify ADA compliance issues and make compliance suggestions – the kinds of improvements intended to be funded by the loans.
“As a compassionate city, Louisville should strive to be accessible to all people, and the District 8 Accessibility Loan Program is a positive development toward that goal,” said David Allgood, Director of Advocacy at the Center for Accessible Living. “The Center for Accessible Living is proud to partner with Councilman Coan on this initiative. People with disabilities are the city’s second-largest minority, and we have money to spend at local businesses we can access and enjoy.”
July 26, 2017 is the 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. The law prohibits discrimination based on disability and improves access to the built environment through standards and requirements.
To learn more about the city’s accessibility loan, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/local-loan-programs.