Retail Interior Accessibility Program

Retail Interior Accessibility Photo

The Retail Interior Accessibility Program provides financial assistance to business owners seeking to renovate or improve the interior of their commercial buildings to make their business more accessible to those who are sensory and/or physically disabled. The Program seeks to improve accessibility and physical appearances of independent businesses and make Cambridge commercial districts more accessible to all.

Program Description

Starting in 2014, the Economic Development Division (EDD) began focusing the program on retailers, restaurateurs, and service providers looking to remove architectural barriers in the interior of their business, making them more accessible to customers with sensory and/or physical disabilities. The Program will provide financial assistance to Cambridge businesses interested in improving their interior accessibility in conformance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAB standards). This new program will further assist our ground floor businesses in making certain their facilities meet the needs of all customers.

The Program provides a 90-100% matching grant up to $10,000 for ADA improvements to businesses that are making improvements that comply with ADA and MAAB guidelines. Retail Interior Accessibility Program Improvements can include, but are not limited to:

  • Braille menus
  • Counter hearing loops 
  • Accessible bathrooms
  • Improved aisles in store
  • Accessible dining tables
  • Interior store ramps
  • Accessible shelving and counters
  • Improved interior paths of travel
  • Accessible register counter

The Program will provide a 90% matching grant up to $10,000 for improvements that comply with ADA and MAAB guidelines. Improvements costing less than $2,000 will receive 100% reimbursement. Only one project per business.

Additional Resources

Please note that improvements made prior to approval of a design and contract by the Program's review committee will not be funded. Large scale projects may require a licensed architect and contractor to refine a conceptual design and to implement the City-approved plans. Reimbursement grant limits vary from year to year. Please contact the program manager for information on the current funding limits.

Application Form

To participate in the Retail Interior Accessibility Program business owners must review and complete the Retail Interior Accessibility Program Form.

For More Information

If you wish to participate in the Retail Interior Accessibility Program, please contact Christina DiLisio at 617/349-4601 or via email at cdilsio@cambridgema.gov. The City of Cambridge will provide auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures to persons with disabilities upon request.