Yesterday, I invited Maureen Williams, my case manager/friend from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to a barbecue chicken dinner at my home. When we went to put the chicken on the gas grill, we noticed the gas tank was empty. Maureen kindly offered to come with Ric and I to get the gas tank filled.

We went to Rousseau’s RV Center in Lakeville for it’s the closest place near my home to get our gas tank filled. I never did a wheelchair accessibility review of this place so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to show Maureen how I review a place for wheelchair accessibility and determine how many stars they get.

When we arrived we saw there is one handicap parking space located close to a wheelchair accessible ramp. We got out of our van and went up the ramp. The slope of the ramp was gradual and easy to wheel up. The entry door is nice and wide but not automatic so Maureen held the door open while Ric wheeled my manual chair inside.

We approached the customer service counter and told the nice clerk we needed to fill our gas tank. I had no problem reaching the counter to pay for the gas. We were told to drive around to the back to have our tank filled. We all left the store to get our tank filled in the back.

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We did notice when exiting the store, that the accessible ramp is located very close to a set of stairs that are directly at the bottom of the sloped ramp; a person in a wheelchair needs to turn left to avoid the stairs after going down the slope. There isn’t a lip or gate here; we thought someone in a wheelchair could miss seeing these stairs and accidently wheel down them. There is a slight color difference where the steps end and the stairs begin to contrast this but we think it is a poor design to have stairs at the bottom of a sloped ramp. We think this could use a lip or gate at the stairs for added safety.

We all got back in the van and drove around the back to get our tank filled. We met a nice attendant who came out and filled up our gas tank. We were all on our way back home to cook our chicken on the grill.

I give Rousseau’s RV Center in Lakeville THREE STARS for wheelchair accessibility. In order to earn the other Two Stars they would need to install an automatic entry door so a person in a wheelchair can enter independently; and place a lip or gate at the bottom of the access ramp by the stairs for added safety. The employees all get Five Stars, for they were all very friendly, courteous and helpful. Our grilled chicken dinner was delicious!

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