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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Justice Department Signs Agreements with the City of Muskegon, Mich., and the City of Cheyenne, Wyo., to Ensure Access for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department today announced settlement agreements with the city of Muskegon, Mich., and the city of Cheyenne, Wyo., to improve access to public programs and facilities for persons with disabilities.

 

The agreements with the cities of Muskegon and Cheyenne were reached under Project Civic Access, the department’s wide-ranging initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

 

Under the agreement with Muskegon, which will be in effect for five years, the city will take numerous important 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 people with disabilities. The agreement specifies which modifications will be made at each facility. Facilities covered by the agreement include city hall, Muskegon Police Station, Central Fire Station/9-1-1 Call Center, Cross Lake Express Ferry Terminal, L.C. Walker Arena, Muskegon Farmers Market, Fisherman’s Landing, and numerous parks, community centers and other recreational facilities.
  • Surveying facilities not reviewed by the department and making necessary accessibility modifications to those facilities in accordance with ADA requirements.
  • Posting, publishing and distributing a notice to inform members of the public of the provisions of title II and their applicability to the city of Muskegon’s programs, services and activities.
  • Providing accessible polling places.
  • Ensuring that the county’s official website is accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Installing signs at any inaccessible entrance to a facility directing individuals with disabilities to an accessible entrance or to information about accessing programs and services at other accessible facilities.
  • Providing accessible curb ramps at sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and transportation stops.
  • Developing a method for providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the city of Muskegon’s accessible services, activities and programs.
  • Implementing a plan to ensure the accessibility of sidewalks and curb ramps throughout the city of Muskegon.  

“Access to public programs and facilities is a civil right, and individuals with disabilities must have the opportunity to participate in public programs, services and activities on an equal basis with their neighbors,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. “The agreement with the city of Muskegon reflects a major commitment by city officials to make Muskegon’s programs and facilities accessible, including a commitment to install large numbers of curb ramps at sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and transportation stops. I commend Muskegon’s officials for making this commitment to its residents with disabilities, and for working with us to attain equal access to all of its programs, activities and services.”

 

The agreement with the city of Cheyenne will improve access to a multi-use arena, which primarily hosts ice sports, concerts and other entertainment events. The department initiated an investigation of the arena after receiving several complaints alleging that the facility was not accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities. Under the agreement, the city of Cheyenne will make physical modifications so that parking, locker rooms, toilet rooms, the billiards and video game area, the mini-golf course, drinking fountains, and routes to entrances and facility amenities are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Modifications will include:

  • Providing an accessible elevator so that persons with disabilities can access each level of the arena.
  • Providing wheelchair seating areas in various locations throughout the center so that individuals with mobility disabilities will have a choice of viewing opportunities for events at the center.
  • Providing individuals with disabilities with an equal opportunity to purchase tickets for center events, including the option to purchase tickets for wheelchair and companion seating areas online in the same manner that other seats are sold online. 

“The city of Cheyenne willingly worked with the department to resolve these access issues at the arena, which were inherited from another entity when the city acquired the arena in 2008,” said Assistant Attorney General Perez. “I commend Cheyenne’s public officials for working cooperatively to afford equal access to this entertainment venue for its residents and visitors with disabilities.”

 

Today’s agreements were reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments.   The department will actively monitor compliance with these agreements until it has confirmed that all required actions have been completed.

 

Project Civic Access (PCA) was initiated to ensure that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life, a fundamental part of American society. 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 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.

 

More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at the website www.justice.gov/crt.   More information about the ADA, today’s agreements, the Project Civic Access initiative and the ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments can be accessed at the ADA Web page at www.ada.gov or by calling the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY).

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