FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SIGNS AGREEMENTS WITH NINE COMMUNITIES
TO ENSURE CIVIC ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced the signing of agreements with nine counties and municipalities nationwide, designed to enhance accessibility to their civic spaces for individuals with disabilities. The agreements are part of the Department’s “Project Civic Access,” a wide-ranging compliance assistance effort to ensure that cities and counties throughout the United States comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the initiative, the Justice Department has worked cooperatively with cities and counties in every state.
“Participation in civic life is a cornerstone of our democracy,” said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights R. Alexander Acosta. “The President has made clear our responsibility to open doors and allow opportunity for people with disabilities. We have been gratified by the cooperation these municipalities have given us and the steps they have taken to make their communities more accessible.”
Under the agreements, Detroit, Michigan; Lincoln County, Nebraska; Binghamton, New York; Carson City, Nevada; Lakewood, Washington; Citrus County, Florida; Springfield, Massachusetts; Waukegan, Illinois Park District; and Mobile, Alabama will take specific steps to make their core government functions more accessible to people with disabilities. They will improve access to all aspects of civic life including courthouses, libraries, parks, sidewalks, and other facilities, as well as addressing accessibility issues in employment, voting, law enforcement activities and emergency preparedness and response.
Including today’s agreements, the Justice Department has entered into a total of 69 such agreements through Project Civic Access. Helping cities across the country become accessible under Project Civic Access remains a top priority for the Department.
The Civil Rights Division has produced several informational guides to assist local governments with ADA compliance, including “Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Small Towns,” “The ADA and City Governments: Common Problems,” “Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities,” and the “ADA Checklist for Polling Places.” These documents, which review the ADA’s requirements and offer practical examples of how to comply, are available on the Justice Department’s ADA website at www.ada.gov.
The ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the programs, services, and activities of state and local governments. Public entities must make reasonable modifications in policies that deny equal access, provide effective communication, and make programs accessible through the removal of barriers or through alternate methods of program delivery, unless an undue burden or fundamental alteration of the program would result.
More information about the ADA and today’s agreements is available at <http://www.ada.gov> and also the Division’s toll-free ADA hotline at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD).