Local site rates venues on accessibility

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB)- We first met Nick Heilig in early December, when he was having trouble getting the state to approve a wheelchair ramp for the front entrance of his Cheektowaga home.

He has an electric lift in his garage, but he’s growing more and more concerned that in the event of an emergency, he’d have trouble getting out.

Heilig told News 4 the lift has a tendency to jam in the winter, and he can’t reach the manual hand crank.

Since our first story aired, he’s gotten a lot of positive feedback.

“People are offering to help build it. I’ve had cooperation from the Town of Cheektowaga as far as, I’m trying to get a permit currently,” Heilig said.

But he’s not done fighting.

He’s determined to get the ramp covered by the state as part of a waiver through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

In the meantime, Heilig runs Full Access Travel, a website devoted to making nights out easier for people in wheelchairs.

“I to go to restaurants, venues, sporting arenas, stadiums, things like that, and rate them based on accessibility.”

Think of it like Yelp. Instead of stars, he uses wheelchairs; one wheelchair means the place isn’t accessible, five means it’s totally accessible.

This is Heilig’s way of trying to put handicapped accessibility on the priority list of local venues.

“Yes we have the ADA, but it’s just a guideline,” he said.

The site operates free right now, but he’s hoping to get advertising partners and staff writers in the future.

“Full Access Travel came from the hope of trying to, in the future, include other disabilities; hearing impaired, visually impaired, with either video or audio blogs.”

Heilig would also like to expand the website to include other cities in New York.

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