Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Justice Department Reaches Settlement Agreement with City of North Adams, Mass., to Ensure Civic Access for People with Disabilities

The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the city of North Adams, Mass., to improve access for people with disabilities to civic life in North Adams. The agreement was reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the Justice Department’s initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The compliance review was initiated in response to a complaint that the city’s police station was physically inaccessible.

 

“The city of North Adams is to be commended for its proactive commitment to ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to the city’s facilities, programs, services and activities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

 

PCA ensures that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life. As part of the PCA initiative, Justice Department investigators, attorneys and architects survey state and local government facilities, services and programs in communities across the country. The purpose of the survey is to identify the modifications needed for compliance with ADA requirements. The agreements are tailored to address the steps each community must take to improve access. PCA agreements include requirements to make physical modifications to facilities so that they are accessible to people with disabilities. Elements that need modifications typically include parking, routes into buildings, entrances, assembly areas, restrooms, service counters and drinking fountains. Other common provisions address effective communication, grievance procedures, polling places, emergency management procedures and policies, sidewalks, domestic violence programs and Web-based services.

 

Under the agreement announced today, the city of North Adams will take important steps to improve access for people with disabilities. The agreement will remain in effect for three years, and the department will monitor the city’s compliance until the required actions have been completed.

 

People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreement with the city of North Adams, the PCA initiative or the ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for state and local governments can access the ADA webpage at www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383).

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