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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 16, 2009
Justice Department Signs Agreement with Fargo, North Dakota, to Ensure Civic Access for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON- The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the City of Fargo, N.D., to improve access to civic life for persons with disabilities. The agreement was reached under "Project Civic Access," a Justice Department initiative to bring state and local governments into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This agreement is the 172nd entered into under the Project Civic Access initiative and the 11th this year.

Project Civic Access was initiated to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life. As part of the project, department investigators, attorneys and architects survey state and local government facilities and programs throughout the country to identify modifications necessary to comply with ADA requirements. Depending on the circumstances in each community, the agreements address specific areas where access must be improved.

"Individuals with disabilities have the right to expect the same access to civic services and facilities as everyone else. It is the responsibility of public officials to ensure that right is protected," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the Civil Rights Division. "I commend City officials for making this commitment to provide equal access to City programs, activities, and services for all of its residents."

Under the agreement announced today, the city of Fargo will take several steps to improve access for individuals with disabilities, such as:

  • 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 persons with disabilities;
  • Posting, publishing and distributing a notice to inform members of the public of the provisions of the ADA and their applicability to the city’s programs, services and activities;
  • Adopting a grievance procedure to deal with complaints of disability discrimination;
  • Amending its employment policies, as necessary, to comply with the regulations of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Implementing a plan that will provide accessible sidewalks and curb ramps throughout Fargo;
  • Ensuring that the city’s official Web site is accessible to persons with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision;
  • Providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the city’s accessible services, activities and programs; and
  • Installing signs at any inaccessible entrance to a city facility directing members of the public to an accessible entrance or to information about other accessible facilities where services can be obtained.

Today’s agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments. The agreement will remain in effect for three years. The department will monitor compliance with the agreement until required actions have been completed.

People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreement with the City of Fargo or the Department’s Project Civic Access initiative may find this information on the ADA website 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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