Phillipsburg restaurant receives award for excellence in accessibility

Americas, October 11 2011

WHITE TOWNSHIP: The Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders declared October to be “Disability Awareness Month” as they recognized a Phillipsburg restaurant for its efforts to be accessible to all.

La Bella Via, an Italian restaurant at Third and Broad streets, received the 2011 Thomas M. Kennedy Excellence in Accessibility Award. The award is named for Kennedy, a relentless advocate for people with disabilities, who died in 2008.

Restaurant owner Sal LaDuca received a certificate of merit as Freeholder Director Everett A. Chamberlain told him the freeholder board and county residents “deeply appreciate your efforts.”

Nominations for the annual award are submitted to the county’s Advisory Council on Disabilities. The restaurant was established in 2006 and LaDuca and his family used their own resources without tax credits or grants to make the establishment more than compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

According to the advisory council, La Bella Via has two clearly marked disability spaces in the parking lot, a ramp to the front door, an accessible patio, a wide entrance and four roomy, fully accessible bathrooms with grab bars. “The restaurant is comfortable and welcoming physically and attitudinally for people with all disabilities,” the council’s nomination summary states.

“I really wasn’t expecting this. I’m honored to accept this,” LaDuca told the freeholders, adding that he and his family were “just doing the right thing.”

Chamberlain noted that when people do whatever they can to open their establishments to all, “it tells a lot about the character of that individual.”

In addition to recognizing La Bella Via, the freeholders unanimously proclaimed October to be Disability Awareness Month, and presented a proclamation to county Advisory Council on Disabilities member Mary Papaserge.

The month is intended to celebrate and recognize the capabilities and contributions of persons with a disability, Chamberlain noted, as he recognized the advisory council for its efforts in assisting on disability issues.

“We deeply appreciate all you do,” Chamberlain told Papaserge and the other advisory council members who attended the meeting.


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