Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Council Bluffs, Iowa, over Disability Access to Mid-America Center
The Justice Department announced today that it has reached an agreement with the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, to resolve alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for failing to provide access for individuals with disabilities at Mid-America Center. Opened in 2002, the Mid-America Center is a multipurpose arena for basketball, hockey and concerts with 9,000 seats.
During its investigation of the Mid-America Center, the United States found that Council Bluffs failed to provide sufficient wheelchair seating, seating for companions to users of wheelchairs and accessible aisle seating to allow people to transfer to the seats by removing or moving arm rests. The United States also found that the city failed to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to purchase tickets for accessible seating. The ADA’s new construction provision requires that in newly constructed arenas, including Mid-America Center, wheelchair seating locations be an integral part of the seating plan and that sight lines for these seating locations be comparable to those offered to the general public.
Under the settlement agreement, Council Bluffs will provide wheelchair and companion seating locations in various event configurations at the center dispersed throughout the arena. The city will provide at least 56 wheelchair and companion seats, seats without arm rests or seats equipped with folding or removable arm rests. Council Bluffs will also revise its ticketing and pricing policies for events to afford individuals with disabilities the opportunity to purchase accessible seats in a manner comparable to that of other individuals.
“The Civil Rights Division is committed to ensuring that all newly constructed arenas are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We commend the city of Council Bluffs for cooperating with the Justice Department and taking swift remedial action to address the situation.”
“Protecting access for individuals with disabilities will continue to be a priority for this district,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel of the Southern District of Iowa.
For more information about the ADA and today’s agreement, individuals may access the ADA web page at www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA information line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).