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Press Release

Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Cedar Rapids to Improve Accessibility of Services and Programs

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – The Department of Justice announced today an agreement with Cedar Rapids to improve access to all aspects of civic life for people with disabilities in the city.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which the Civil Rights Division plays a critical role in enforcing.

Cedar Rapids and the Department of Justice 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.  Under the agreement, the city is required to ensure that people with disabilities can fully take advantage of the city’s services, programs and activities.

“Today's agreement represents a significant step towards ensuring all members of our community are treated fairly," said Kevin W. Techau, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa.  "As our nation celebrates the 25th anniversary of the ADA, I am proud that the city of Cedar Rapids has taken this opportunity to work with the Department of Justice to enhance the lives of all of its citizens.”

“Over the last 25 years, the ADA has required states and local governments to examine their facilities and provide citizens with disabilities the same program access to city services that all other citizens enjoy,” said Principal Deputy Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “Agreements such as this one will ensure that individuals with disabilities in Cedar Rapids have more access to city services and programs which is essential for them to enjoy their civil right to full participation in American life.”

The agreement with Cedar Rapids will allow people with disabilities, like Catherine Hafsi and Cherie Clark, to access county services, programs and activities.  Ms. Hafsi, who uses a walker, encountered problems with the entrance door to the parking pay system in a municipal lot across from the federal courthouse as well as with sidewalks when she visited the Fair Housing Office at the Veteran’s Memorial Building.  Similarly, Ms. Clark, who uses a wheelchair and a walker, has encountered several accessibility issues with sidewalks and entrances to city facilities.  Experiences like these, however, will become a thing of the past over the next four years thanks to the PCA agreement.

Under the agreement, Cedar Rapids will install, repair or replace thousands of sidewalks and curb ramps throughout the city to bring them into compliance with current ADA standards to improve access for persons with disabilities.  Cedar Rapids will also ensure that its city parking lots and toilet rooms are accessible to persons with disabilities and enhance accessibility throughout the city’s park system.        

This agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments.  The four-year agreement will remain in effect until September 1, 2019.  The department will actively monitor compliance with the agreement.        

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Updated February 4, 2016

Civil Rights