What is Ramp Up Idaho?

Who are we? Ramp Up Idaho is a diverse group of business, transportation, housing, community and economic development professionals exploring the economic impact of accessible retail, commercial and housing infrastructure throughout Idaho. We know the value of networking and the results achieved through inclusive and creative planning. We like it when we run into win-win opportunities.

Why Ramp Up Idaho? The idea came from an Idaho Community Review* in Driggs, Idaho during the fall of 2012. After a long day of interviews and site visits, a group of thirsty visiting team members (one with a powered scooter) went out in search of a place to unwind and stimulate the local economy. The only place still open had a step that created a barrier for our friend. In our case, we muscled his scooter into and out of the business that night...and the next.

Without that effort, the business would have lost eight customers two nights running. We all realized that a step represents more than a physical barrier; it’s also a barrier to commerce. When people (or their friends) can’t get through the door, they aren’t customers.

Photo of sidewalk in historic downtown business district, showing inset steps into business entry.

What’s missing? The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) had just replaced the entire Main Street running through the downtown retail district, but all new work stopped 18” from the storefronts. Individual business owners may not have been aware of significant technical and financial resources available to help close that gap. The missing piece may have been a conversation earlier in the planning process among all players involved to identify resources and requirement and to leverage planned investments.

We see communities eventually promoting access as part of an overall marketing strategy for recreation, tourism and economic development. When businesses make use of the existing tax incentives below to offset costs, we also see additional jobs created—someone has to make and install all those ramps. We believe a relatively small upfront investment―combined with the networking capacity of our partners—can create an effective movement with broad impact for everyone.

Existing tax incentives to create access (see also links at right)
  • Access Deduction (Sect. 190) < $15K for all businesses; and
  • Access Credit (Sect. 44) < $5K for ‘eligible’ small businesses (gross receipts < $1M)
What we need to 'Ramp Up' this project. Ramp Up Idaho partners are contributing staff time to support outreach and promotional efforts for this effort. Our goal is to establish a fund that can be used to help move a few 'early adopter' small businesses towards accessibility. We know it would be tough to remove every barrier in Idaho; we just want to plant a few seeds to demonstrate the many advantages of access.

Contributions are tax-deductible and can be made to LINC Idaho, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Let us know if you'd like to help make this happen.

Removing barriers to removing barriers. We don't want to re-invent the wheel; we are gathering the best documentation and guidance available to include in this site. At the end of this process we will be able to create an online step-by-step resource at www.rampupidaho.org for other businesses to follow. Since our partners work with local governments, business organizations and highway districts on a regular basis, we can discuss process or procedural obstacles and explore solutions that increase clarity and efficiency.

Help us spread the word. We've been getting requests for promotional materials from communities and organizations around the state. Small quantities of brochures or business cards are available on request, or you are free to download and distribute information as need using the links below:

Data sheets/brochures

To learn more, call Erik at 208-331-4706, email info@rampupidaho.org or like us on Facebook. *To learn about the Idaho Community Review, visit www.irp.idaho.gov

Our current group comes from backgrounds like transportation, business, housing, government, economic development and accessibility. We’re hoping to compile a list of resources and outline a simple rationale for businesses, Chambers and other groups to begin thinking more strategically and collaboratively about access.

Key partners work for the following organizations:
NW ADA Center - Idaho
Small Business Administration
Idaho Housing and Finance Association*
Idaho Department of Commerce*
Federal Highway Administration
Living Independence Network Corporation (LINC Idaho)
Southern Idaho Rural Development
Lincoln County

*contributed funds for outreach materials printing and promotion

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