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Rep. Emma Acosta holds meetings at non-accessible restaurant

By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO, Texas – City Rep. Emma Acosta is holding community meetings at a local restaurant that does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Local disability rights-rights organizations said they are upset with this situation.

Advocates said the restroom stalls at the Martita's Lunchbox restaurant near Montana Avenue in east El Paso are too small for those using a wheelchair or walking device.

Owner Martin Rios said he is working to add new restrooms to the back of the building, and it could be a $17,000 project.

Rios said he is working with the city to make sure the addition would be up to code with the ADA, as well as other guidelines, like having enough fire hydrants in the area. He said if the city determines another fire hydrant needs to go in because of the expansion, that could cost the restaurant an additional $15,000.

The new restrooms could start going in once the construction plans meet city guidelines.
"Right now, because the owner is so diligent about installing the ADA bathrooms, I see no need to actually move my meetings from that location that are very well attended," Acosta said.

"If you're truly behind us, and really want to advocate for us on our behalf in regards to accessibility, then why won't you move?" disability advocate George Zavala said.
Zavala said this is just one more example of public buildings that are not ADA-compliant in El Paso.

However, Acosta said she will add another meeting each month at a different location, possibly a school, that will be ADA-compliant.