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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Justice Department Signs Agreement with the City of Poplarville, Mississippi, to Improve Civic Access for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the city of Poplarville, Miss., to improve access for persons with disabilities to its programs, services, activities and facilities. The agreement was reached under the department’s Project Civic Access initiative to bring localities into full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This agreement is the 173rd under Project Civic Access and the 12th this year.

"Access to public programs, activities and services is critical to ensuring that individuals with disabilities can participate fully in their communities and in civic life, and the ADA guarantees them that access," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The department is pleased that city officials have made this commitment to great access for persons with disabilities."

The department’s agreement with the city of Poplarville provides that the city will:

  • Make 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;
  • Post, publish and distribute a notice to inform members of the public of the provisions of title II and their applicability to the city’s programs, services and activities;
  • Adopt and implement a grievance procedure to deal with complaints of disability discrimination;
  • Take steps to ensure that all appropriate employees are trained and practiced in using the Mississippi Relay Service to make and receive calls;
  • Implement the sheriff department’s Policy on Effective Communication with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing by providing interpreters and auxiliary aids that are necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing;
  • Amend its employment policies, as necessary, to comply with the regulations of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission implementing the employment provisions of title I of the ADA;
  • Provide physically accessible polling places;
  • Ensure equal access to its emergency management programs for persons with disabilities, including preparation, notification, response and clean up;
  • Implement a plan for accessibility of sidewalks and curb cuts throughout the city; and
  • Install signs at any inaccessible entrance to a facility directing users to an accessible entrance or to information about other accessible facilities.

Project Civic Access was initiated to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life in their community. As part of the project, department investigators, attorneys and architects conduct on-site surveys of state and local government facilities and programs across the nation for the purpose of identifying modifications needed for compliance with ADA requirements. The agreements are tailored to address specific areas of concern where access to a government’s programs or facilities can be improved.

Poplarville is a small city in Pearl River County, Miss. One in every four residents of Poplarville has a disability and will benefit from the access improvements achieved because of today’s agreement.

People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreement with the City of Poplarville or the Justice Department’s Project Civic Access initiative may obtain this information on the ADA Web site at http://www.ada.gov or by calling the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD).

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