Settlement Agreement between the United States of America
The City of North Adams, Massachusetts
On October 16, 2012, the Department of Justice entered into a settlement agreement with the City of North Adams, Massachusetts, under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
The Department of Justice initiated a compliance review of the City of North Adams in response to a complaint that the police station was physically inaccessible. The compliance review is part of Project Civic Access, a Departmental initiative to ensure greater access for persons with disabilities to state and local government programs, services, activities, and facilities. An on-site survey of the City's buildings, programs, and services was conducted in November 2010. City staff worked cooperatively with the Department throughout the compliance review process in order to reach an agreement.
Facilities and programs surveyed by the Department and covered by the agreement include: City Hall; Department of Public Safety, including the Police Station; River Street Park; Alcombright Athletic Complex; North Adams Public Library; Office of Tourism and Chamber of Commerce; Kemp Park; Windsor Mill; Mary Spitzer Community Center; Northern Berkshire YMCA; Harriman and West Airport; Noel Field Athletic Complex; Western Gateway Heritage State Park; Windsor Lake Park; Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink; Freeman Park; and Greylock Park. The survey also included areas of polling places used by the voting public.
The Department also reviewed the City's policies and procedures regarding voting, emergency management and disaster prevention, employment, and sidewalk maintenance. The text of the settlement agreement specifies the modifications the City of North Adams will be making to its programs, services, and facilities. Among other things, the City has agreed to:
- Make physical modifications to its facilities so that parking, routes into the buildings, entrances, restrooms, service counters, and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities.
- Post, publish, and distribute a notice to inform members of the public of the requirements of Title II and their applicability to the City's programs, services, and activities.
- Identify sources of qualified sign language and oral interpreters, real-time transcription services, and Braille transcription vendors to ensure that communication with individuals with disabilities is effective.
- Train staff in using the Massachusetts telephone relay service for telephone communications with individuals who are deaf, have hearing loss, or have speech disabilities.
- Implement the Department of Public Safety Policy on Effective Communication with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
- Develop policies and procedures and perform necessary planning to ensure that individuals with disabilities are afforded equal, integrated access to emergency management programs, including emergency preparedness, notification, evacuation, sheltering, response, clean up, and recovery.
- Ensure that barriers at polling places are removed or a substitute accessible polling place is operational before any election occurring more than eighteen months after the effective date of this Agreement. In the interim, identify and widely publicize the most accessible polling place(s).
- Develop a method for providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the City's accessible services, activities, and programs.
- Ensure that the City's official website and other web-based services are accessible to persons with disabilities.
- Install 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.
- Implement a plan to ensure the accessibility of sidewalks and curb ramps throughout the City of North Adams.
- Amend its employment policies, as necessary, to comply with the regulations of the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission implementing Title I of the ADA, codified at 29 C.F.R. Part 1630.
The agreement requires actions to be completed within three years. The Department will actively monitor compliance with the agreement until it has confirmed that all required actions have been completed.
Project Civic Access | ADA Home Page