Settlement Agreement between the United States of America
and the City of Fort Myers, Florida
On September 30, 2010, the Department of Justice entered into a settlement agreement with the City of Fort Myers, Florida, under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
The Department of Justice initiated an investigation in response to a complaint that sidewalks in Fort Myers are not accessible to persons with disabilities. The investigation of this complaint expanded to a compliance review under Project Civic Access, a Department initiative to ensure greater access for persons with disabilities to state and local government programs, services, activities, and facilities. City staff worked cooperatively with the Department throughout the investigation and review process.
Facilities and programs surveyed by the Department and covered by the agreement include: Convention Center; City Hall; Main Street Garage; Fort Myers Police Station; City of Palms Parking Garage; Constitution Hall sidewalks; Burroughs Home; Dr. Ella Piper Center; Shady Oaks Community Center; City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin; Imaginarium; Golfview Pool and Community Center; Fort Myers Country Club; Stars Sports Complex; Water Treatment Plant; City of Fort Myers Cemetery; Fort Myers Historical Museum; and the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.
The compliance review included the Department's review of the City's policies and procedures regarding emergency management and disaster prevention, and sidewalk maintenance to evaluate whether persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to utilize these programs. The Department also reviewed the City's Police Department's policies and procedures regarding providing effective communication to persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Under the agreement announced today, the City of Fort Myers will take several important steps to improve access for individuals with disabilities. The text of the settlement agreement specifies the particular modifications that Fort Myers will make to each of the programs, services, and facilities covered by the agreement as well as the timeframes for making each change. The agreement also recognizes that Fort Myers has independently completed a number of steps to increase access to its programs, services, and facilities.
Under the Agreement, the City will:
Fort Myers, Florida, established in 1886, is located in southwestern Florida and attracts thousands of visitors every year with its proximity to areas of natural beauty and as the Spring-training home to the Boston Red Sox. More than 25 percent of Fort Myers residents over the age of five have a disability and will benefit from this agreement.
The Settlement Agreement will remain in effect for three years from September 30, 2010, or until all actions required by the agreement have been completed, whichever is later. The Department will actively monitor compliance with the Agreement, which will remain in effect until the Department has confirmed that all required actions have been completed.
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