Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2001

Jasmin working to meet customer needs

October 18, 2001

Getting into a Eudora eatery isn't always easy for some customers. But it's not a long wait or booked reservation list that's slowing them down.

Jasmin restaurant owner J. Ramirez has heard customers' concerns about the steep steps leading up to the restaurant, which can prove difficult for some senior citizens or people with disabilities.

That's why Ramirez is working with Bob Mikesic of Independence, Inc., of Lawrence to give the entrance improved accessibility. Mikesic, who is working with building inspector Rick Treas on the project, spoke to the city council about the project.

"There's no real functional hand rails," Mikesic said. "A lot of senior citizens frequent that restaurant."

He explained that a ramp would be the best possible solution, but several factors made that difficult to accomplish. Because of the sidewalk's slope, the ramp would have to go to the north, which the restaurant's neighbors said would hinder access to their front door. Adding a ramp to the back would be a problem because it would require patrons to enter through the kitchen, violating health codes.

"Even people able to negotiate the steps have trouble because of how steep they are," Mikesic said.

Mikesic suggested widening the stairs and lowering their rise would be the best solution. The steps would come about 30 inches from the building, making the entrance more of a landing.

"Although that doesn't give you full access, it's the next best thing," said Mayor Ron Conner.

The American's with Disabilities Act, Mikesic said, asks private businesses to remove barriers with reasonable effort or provide an alternative method of service. For the restaurant, carryout could be considered such a service.

Although Mikesic was working with the building inspector, Treas told him to approach the council about the changes, since the work would take place on the city's sidewalk. Conner summed up the council's opinion by telling Mikesic it supported the concept and asked him to continue working with Treas.

In other council news:

The council said it was still working with the Eudora School district to look at a scaled-down version of the high school concession stands for the ball fields by West Elementary School. The council will wait until the school board has its next meeting to continue discussion.

The council approved full-time status for James W. Johnston of the electric department.

The council approved the purchase of a new hoist for one of the city's pickup trucks for about $3,000.

City Clerk Donna Oleson told the council a community member had suggested high school art students paint a downtown wall under repair.

City Superintendent Bill Harlow suggested re-engineering could save the city money for sludge removal, although the city doesn't have money for re-engineering budgeted.

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