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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Justice Department Signs Agreement with Chautauqua County, New York, to Ensure Civic Access for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced an agreement with Chautauqua County, N.Y., to improve access to all aspects of civic life for persons with disabilities. The agreement was reached under the Department’s Project Civic Access initiative, which aims to bring state and local governments into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This agreement is the 166th under Project Civic Access.

The goal of Project Civic Access is to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life. As part of the project, Justice Department investigators, attorneys and architects conduct on-site surveys of state and local government programs and facilities across the country for the purpose of identifying modifications needed for compliance with ADA requirements. The agreements contain a plan setting out the specific steps a community will take to improve access for persons with disabilities.

"All citizens have a right to access public programs, services and facilities, and this agreement will ensure that persons with disabilities have the same civic access that so many of us take for granted," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The officials of Chautauqua County are to be commended for making this important commitment to improving access for persons with disabilities."

Chautauqua County, located in the southwestern corner of New York state, next to the Pennsylvania border, is the westernmost of New York’s counties. More than 20 percent of the people living in Chautauqua County have disabilities and will benefit from the agreement announced today.

Under the agreement, Chautauqua County will take several key steps to improve access for persons with disabilities, including:

  • Making physical modifications to its facilities so that parking, routes into the buildings, entrances, public telephones, restrooms, service counters and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities;
  • Working with the Justice Department to ensure that the county’s emergency management program provides equal access to persons with disabilities;
  • Ensuring that the county’s official Web site is accessible to persons with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision;
  • Ensuring that polling places and voter registration materials are accessible to people with disabilities; and
  • Ensuring that the county’s sidewalks program affords access to persons with mobility disabilities by installing curb ramps.

People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreement with Chautauqua County, N.Y., or the Department’s Project Civic Access initiative can find this information on the ADA Web site at http://www.ada.gov or may call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

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