Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Pennington County, South Dakota, to Improve Accessibility
The Department of Justice announced an agreement with Pennington County, South Dakota, today to resolve accessibility issues in the county’s services, programs, activities and facilities under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This year marks the 25th anniversary of the ADA, which the Civil Rights Division plays a critical role in enforcing. In honor of the anniversary, each month the Department of Justice has been highlighting efforts that are making full participation and equal opportunity for people with disabilities a reality.
Pennington County and the department reached an agreement under Project Civic Access (PCA), the department’s wide-ranging initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the ADA. One of the hallmarks of the agreement is the requirement that the county hire an independent licensed architect (ILA) who is knowledgeable about the architectural accessibility requirements of the ADA. The ILA will certify that the accessibility modifications done to the county’s facilities comply with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
The agreement with the county will allow people with disabilities to participate in and benefit from the services provided in Pennington County’s facilities including its New Administration Building, Courthouse Complex, Jail, Jail Annex, Public Safety Building, Public Health Building, Juvenile Services Center and the Pennington County Fairgrounds. The county will renovate and remediate everything from entrances, service areas, counters, restrooms and parking so that people with disabilities can get into county buildings and use the services and programs offered by the county in each of its buildings. In addition, the agreement calls for implementing a comprehensive plan to improve the accessibility of sidewalks, transportation stops and pedestrian crossings by installing accessible curb ramps throughout the county.
“As we continue to celebrate the ADA’s 25th Anniversary this year, today’s agreement is the sixth PCA agreement the Department of Justice has signed in six months and exemplifies our continuing commitment to ensure that citizens with disabilities enjoy the same services, programs and activities that all others enjoy,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “Equal access to local government is the cornerstone of Project Civic Access in its quest to protect the civil rights of municipalities’ citizens with disabilities.”
For more information about the ADA, today’s agreement, the Project Civic Access initiative, individuals may access the ADA Web page at http://www.ada.gov/civicac.htm or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).